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Lost Pines Toyota
“I immigrated to the United States from Cuba with my parents as a child. We started from nothing, but I was taught that with hard work and determination, you can succeed in life. By being a successful dealer, I feel I can be an example to other minority individuals and help them achieve their dreams.”
“I immigrated to the United States from Cuba with my parents as a child,” nominee Liriano said. “We started from nothing, but I was taught that with hard work and determination, you can succeed in life. By being a successful dealer, I feel I can be an example to other minority individuals and help them achieve their dreams.”
A 1980 graduate of Alfred Bonnabel High School in Metairie, Louisiana, Liriano earned a B.A. in management and finance from Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond in 1985. He sold life insurance to help pay for college and set the goal of owning a multi-line insurance agency.
To raise funds for his future business endeavor, Liriano took a job in sales at Performance Toyota in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1986. “Little did I know how hooked I would become on the automotive industry,” he said.
For the next 25 years, Liriano learned all aspects of dealership operations while employed with different Louisiana dealers to prepare him for his next goal: acquiring his own store. He attended the NADA Academy to further educate himself on the nuances of owning a dealership. In 2011, his dream became a reality when he moved to Bastrop, Texas, and founded Lost Pines Toyota with his wife, Laurie.
“Having worked for several dealerships, I learned that not all dealers approached their customers and community in the same fashion,” Liriano said. “I decided that I wanted to be the kind of dealer that is deeply and personally aligned with the community.”
Today, with the active involvement of his two sons, Scott and Michael, as well as his wife, Laurie, Liriano’s family dealership has become a hub of community activity. One Friday a month, they host customers, employees and neighbors for homemade gumbo in the showroom. “We brought a little bit of Louisiana with us to Texas,” he said. “Gumbo Friday is a hugely popular event and we sometimes pair it with a donation effort for those in need.”
Liriano has even constructed his dealership with the community in mind. The building is environmentally friendly and has been Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design)-certified. And in a nod to Bastrop’s storied past, Liriano’s wife worked with the Bastrop County Historical Society to choose vintage photos of the area to adorn the building. “You can often find locals standing in our showroom reminiscing and sharing experiences evoked by these images,” he said.
Another important community program is the dealership’s Pink Events, which are held each October to support breast cancer awareness and women’s health initiatives. Sponsored by the Liriano Family Foundation, the events feature the Big Pink Bus, a mobile mammogram unit from the Seton Healthcare Family, which is stationed at the dealership for free breast cancer screenings.
Liriano has been asked to lend his leadership skills to many boards, including the Bastrop Chamber of Commerce; the Bastrop Economic Development Corporation; Bastrop High School Automotive Technology Advisory Board; and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
In addition, he has supported dozens of organizations and events, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bastrop County; Rotary Club of Bastrop County’s Men Who Cook event; Stuff the Truck food drive (at the dealership); Boy Scouts of America Pinewood Derby (local troop event at the dealership); as well as area veterans and school programs.
“I made a commitment when we opened Lost Pines Toyota that we would be a part of this community, whether or not it directly led to the sale of a car,” he said.
Liriano has garnered numerous awards for his local involvement, but he is most proud of receiving the Diversity Advocacy Award from the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers in 2017.
“I know the circumstances with which my family was faced when I came to the United States with nothing,” he said. “A huge part of my life revolves around giving back because so many people have helped me during my life. I have been blessed with opportunities, and now I am hopefully able to return these blessings to anyone pursuing their dreams.”
Liriano was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Damon Lester, president of the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers. He and his wife, Laurie, have four children.