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Meet Italo De Souza of CarFive in Salem

Today we’d like to introduce you to Italo De Souza.

Italo, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have always known that I wanted to start my own business. I really wanted to build a company and an environment where all employees were well-respected and treated as equals, with a family-type atmosphere. I never really had any specific business in mind.

While in college, I had noticed a really specific problem amongst my friends and people my age that I wanted to fix: I was seeing that a lot of young adults, whether directly out of high school or in college, could only afford to buy a cheap, older car. They only had a few thousand to spend, and very limited options available from which to buy. Even then, those limited options were either some pretty unreliable private seller, like on Craigslist, which comes with no warranty or guarantee of any kind, or they’re from some sketchy used car dealers which aren’t much more reliable. I wanted to eliminate all of that. So, out of college, with my degree in Industrial Engineering, I moved down south, went to work for a large, well-known Fortune 500 oil company, made and saved as much money as possible, and moved back to the northeast to start this business.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Definitely not. To this day, I still sometimes question why I left a well-respected, well-known company with a fixed salary and excellent benefits for something that isn’t guaranteed. Within the first few months, I never knew if I was going to be able to pay all of my bills AND all of my employees at the end of the month. I also never knew if I, personally, would have been able to take a pay-check home. We were also mentally set back by a break in that we had within the first 3 months and that really messed with not only finances, but the bigger picture of why we were doing this. The business itself is also very difficult. Anything can go wrong with a new car, but those chances are greater with an older, used car. It’s also harder than you’d think to find talented, trustworthy mechanics, and to try and break away from the used car dealership stigma.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the CarFive story. Tell us more about the business.
We are a used car dealership that specializes in cars of $5,000 and under. We don’t haggle and we don’t compromise because we guarantee that the quality is high and the price is fair.

I’d like to think that we’re known for quality inventory at reasonable prices, with dedicated mechanics and salesman who want you to drive away safely knowing that you paid a fair price and that your car is reliable.

As a company, I’m most proud of being able to provide employment to 10 great people, for far exceeding our projected sales and selling 500 cars within the first year, and for the smile on our customers’ faces when they buy their car.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t think that luck has played any role in our business. The success that we have achieved and continue to achieve is due mostly to our dedication, the long work hours we put in, and the simple attitude of not giving up.


  • Used cars for $5,000 and under

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