Dealerships sold; Tomassis retire

After 48 years of success, the E&L Motors dealerships in Diamondville and Big Piney, along with Frontier Ford in Diamondville, have been sold to Heritage Auto. The founders’ three children — Tony, Vince and Louann — are retiring, and plan to celebrate their milestone at the South Lincoln Event Center in Kemmerer. They plan to thank the many employees and community members who’ve supported their businesses over the years. The event is scheduled from 1-5 p.m. Saturday.

Louie Tomassi was always entrepreneurial in spirit. He dabbled in multiple areas of business before landing in auto sales, but it seems he was well-adapted to the industry.

“He kind of started fooling around with selling cars,” Tony Tomassi said about his father. “He loved cars and loved people, so he was just a natural fit for it.”

The dealership’s name originally reflected its ownership. Louie Tomassi had initially intended to work with a partner whose first initial was E, but that never came to fruition, so he instead made the E stand for “Emma,” his wife’s name.

Like their father, Tony said he and his siblings have made several business ventures.

“We’ve had a motel, Luigi’s Supper Club, storage units — but the dealerships have always been the focus,” he said.

Tony, former mayor of Kemmerer, said his family had also been operating a Ford dealership, Frontier Ford, since about 1984, which also recently sold.

E&L has certainly encountered hardship throughout its years of operation.

“You can’t have a car business and have it be all gravy,” Tony said. “In the early 1980s, it was hard. 2005, 2006, 2008, during the recession, that was difficult. We’ve had some times when the dealership was struggling, but it’s always worked out.”

E&L lived through a period of constant adaptation, especially with having no background in the field.

“It was a start-from-scratch kind of experience,” Tony told the Gazette. “From 1973 to 2022, it’s not the same business. … When we got our first fax machine, we thought, ‘Wow, how could it get any better?’ We hand-wrote everything. It was so different. Now, some things are newer, but not necessarily better.”

The Tomassi family owes their employees credit, said Tony.

“You develop a sense of obligation toward your employees,” he said. “Many have been with us for 35 or 36 years. We’ve been super fortunate with the people who have worked with us. They’ve been a huge part of our success.”

Tony said he’s satisfied with how his livelihood turned out.

“No regrets. I’ve loved going to work, my job, what I’ve done,” he said. “Would I have done something differently? Of course! Do I regret not having done it? No. … We’ve been super fortunate, and I think part of the reason is we really worked at it.”

Tony said he and his siblings are pleased with the impact their businesses have made.

“I think our family and our employees have made a very positive impact on the community,” he said. “They’ve supported us, and we’ve given back in many ways. We are proud of that. Very proud. Our employees have been a huge part of our success. My brother, sister, nephew, the community’s been supportive.”

Tony said he and his siblings may feel slightly out of place without their lifelong careers, but they are eager to move forward.

“We have finished this chapter of our lives, and now we’re ready to move to the next one,” he said.

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