Updated: Friday, 22 May 2009, 11:01 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 22 May 2009, 10:50 PM EDT
West Haven (WTNH) - Having a "good time" is the goal of a carnival that sat on an
empty parking lot at Mantilia Ford in West Haven. After more than
75-years in business, the family-owned dealership was forced to
close during an unforgiving recession.
Carrie Mantilia Giuliano's great-grandfather started the dealership during the "Great Depression." Hosting a carnival was the family's way to say "thank you" for horse-powered memories.
"The first couple of weeks were very difficult, I think I probably had about 40 voicemails a day," said Carrie. "I've been calling everybody back; a lot of them were very tearful."
One of those upset customers is George Marenna, owner of the carnival. He used to buy parts from Carrie's father for his 1936 modified race car. He learned where to go from his father.
"My father bought a '56 Ford Victoria, a supped up Ford that was a good model. There's a lot of good memories," George said.
Henry Ford said "you can't build your reputation on what you are going to do." It seems it was what the Mantilia family did that has brought out so many to say goodbye.
"We've been so lucky. We have so many wonderful, loyal customers. Some have been coming for 50-years, 60-years, and that's hard to say goodbye to; that's hard to walk away from," said Carrie.