ALBANY – The Aidala family celebrated 80 years of business in the Capital City inside its three-generation car dealership and repair shop Saturday, June 24.
Family members, friends, shop patrons, and guests honored the oak milestone and reminisced about the past and present of the Quail Street business.
After migrating from Sicily, through Ellis Island and later settling in Albany, the Aidala family built the dealership and two apartment rooms the family once lived in brick-by-brick. The business, formed in 1943 by John Aidala Sr., has been serving the community for the past eight decades.
Living on Watervliet Ave. in Albany at the time, John Aidala Jr. recalled coming to the family shop as a child to help out. When John’s parents moved out of their apartment to live in the Town of Colonie in 1950, there wasn’t a transportation zone. John became an auto mechanic by simply hanging around waiting for a ride home.
“When we moved away, we needed a ride home from school and there were no school buses at the time,” John Aidala Jr. said. “We would wait here and whenever he got done working and I got a ride home, I had to do something.”
At the celebration, John’s brother, Joseph Aidala, told the story of how their mother paid for the business’ first monthly rent payment of $25 because their father could not afford it and according to Joseph, she was the one who “started the place”.
John Aidala Jr. and Joseph worked alongside their father. John Jr. became the accountant for the business after graduating from Siena College and helped put the “business on the books,” according to son, Greg Aidala. Joseph retired from the business several years ago.
As times passed, several family members would later help out at the shop including John Anthony Aidala in 1983 and youngest daughter Sharron. Four years ago, son Stephen Aidala became general manager of Quail Auto Sales.
John Aidala Jr. considers himself to be an “unpaid consultant”. He still enjoys being around the shop and patrons who he doesn’t normally interact with will still stop by and check in to see if he’s around while they’re in town.
“It’s been a lot of fun, it’s been a great journey,” John said. “The business is like any relationship, friendship, and marriage; it all has its ups and downs but it also has its nice high points.”
Being involved in the family business was good to John and it was also a great ride he said.
All of the Aidala children remain thankful for their special father. John had to put his interests aside for what he wanted to do in his life to help put food on the plates and have a roof over their head, Greg said.
“I didn’t really do it, they did it themselves,” John said. “They had to want to do it themselves and somehow they did it. They buoyed me up and they kept us all going.”
This story appeared on page 8 of the July 19, 2023 print edition of the Colonie Spotlight