My 24 Hours in Newport: Garth Blumenthal

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Garth Blumenthal

Garth Blumenthal, CEO of Unstoppable Automotive Group, shares the key to his success and his favorite places in town.

By Sharon Stello

 

Building relationships one customer at a time is a philosophy that Garth Blumenthal lives by.

Blumenthal was general manager of Fletcher Jones Motorcars in Newport Beach for more than 25 years—the youngest to serve in that position in Mercedes-Benz history—and now has his own company, Unstoppable Automotive Group, comprising luxury franchise dealerships across the country for Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volvo and new electric vehicle brand Polestar, which has a showroom that opened at South Coast Plaza in April.

“My approach to doing business is … it all starts and ends with people,” Blumenthal says. “Therefore, building relationships one guest at a time is central to our belief systems. There are businesses and dealers that say [they] share similar views, but I truly believe in living by this guiding principle. That is why I trust actions more than words. I have been blessed to build long-term relationships with my clients, many of whom have become friends. And one of the most rewarding benefits is taking care of generations of families.”

The Crystal Cove-area resident, who has a son attending Chapman University, has strong ties to the local community. After growing up in South Africa, he moved to California in 1983. He lived briefly in LA, then settled in Newport after falling in love with this coastal city during a visit. “Newport Beach has always been a beautiful place to live and the consistent quality of living makes it unique,” Blumenthal says.

And giving back is important to Blumenthal. Unstoppable Automotive Group supports local charities and schools—primarily focusing on children’s programs—such as celebrity chef Sir Bruno Serato’s nonprofit, Caterina’s Club, and Providence Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, sponsoring the hospital foundation’s annual golf tournament, which is usually held at Pelican Hill Golf Club in June. “Giving back to the community is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to our clients and friends,” Blumenthal says.

Blumenthal began his career in the automobile industry after college when he accepted a sales position with Cargo Motors in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1980, at the suggestion of one of his father’s clients. And the rest is history.

In California, Blumenthal became the first team member of Fletcher Jones Motorcars in 1991 after Ted Jones purchased Slemons Imports, then OC’s oldest Mercedes-Benz dealership, out of bankruptcy court. Perhaps the job was meant to be because Blumenthal has long loved Mercedes-Benz: His favorite models are the 280 SL from the 1960s and, more recently, the GT 63 S. He quickly built the dealership into a success.

“It was exciting and challenging building a strong team,” he says. “Having an opportunity to turn the business around and to build something so special was incredible. We went from the bottom to No. 1 in the U.S. by the end of 1999. I will always cherish the relationships and the memories of my almost 26 years with Fletcher Jones in Newport Beach.”

Unstoppable Automotive Group was formed in 2021 and Blumenthal serves as CEO. He says the company’s name “describes my mentality and competitiveness to a T.”

“I have had to overcome many personal, professional and health obstacles,” he says. “… That has been made possible by my faith and refusal to give up. Life is not always easy or comfortable. However, I believe that we can succeed by having a positive mental attitude and determination to find solutions.”

Unstoppable’s biggest dealerships include Mercedes-Benz of Temecula and Audi Mission Viejo, but his priority, as ever, remains on the customers.

“I hope to be able to continue to build long lasting relationships and add value to the experience of buying or servicing automobiles,” Blumenthal says. “The experience should be transparent, easy and fun.”

 

MarcheModerne_Interiors_0453
Marché Moderne | Photo by DYLAN + JENI

Worldly Fare

Among Blumenthal’s favorite local eateries is MARCHÉ MODERNE. “Chef couple Florent and Amelia Marneau … have created a bistrolike atmosphere with the hospitality of a French country inn. Plus the food is world-class. I particularly like the hamachi crudo and the coq au vin.”

 

Sapori Ristorante
Sapori Ristorante

Authentic Cuisine

SAPORI RISTORANTE is another of Blumenthal’s go-to eateries in town. “Sapori is owned and operated by Sal and his wife, Anne Maniaci, who greet their guests with a warm handshake and Sal’s grandmother’s Sicilian and Neapolitan recipes,” Blumenthal says.

 

Zinc Cafe and Market
Zinc Cafe and Market

Quick Pick-Me-Up

“For a coffee shop, I like ZINC [CAFE & MARKET] in Corona del Mar,” he says. “It’s … a great place to start a busy weekend. … The guests and the employees seem very welcoming. I’ve even dropped off a few cars for clients there and it’s also a great place to pick up to-go food.”

 

The view from Ocean Boulevard_Photo by Steve Cukrov/Shutterstock.com
The view from Ocean Boulevard | Photo by Steve Cukrov/Shutterstock.com

Enjoying the View

“Since I work a lot, … I tend to spend much of my relaxing time at home,” he says. “But, occasionally, I drive to CdM and walk along OCEAN [BOULEVARD] during the summer evenings and watch the boats heading back … and occasional wildlife … like dolphins [and] sea lions.”

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