CitySide Subaru: Caring for Animals and the Environment

CitySide Subaru, in Belmont, has been selling new and used cars for 18 years. The company, which currently sponsors Natural Awakenings’ guide to animal shelter and rescue groups, has demonstrated a special fondness for four-legged creatures and a concern for the environment. Natural Awakenings asked CitySide Subaru co-owner Rick White to say more about his passion for people, animals and the planet.

You’ve chosen to spend your career in the car sales business. Why?

I love that it’s a people business, and I like the interactions and the relationships that develop. We do a lot of repeat business, and there are customers who’ve been buying Subarus from us since we opened in 1995. Those relationships are meaningful, and a lot of customers have become my friends, which makes it rewarding. It also helps it you’re a bit of a “motorhead” or car nut, which I am.

How does Subaru demonstrate concern for the planet?

It’s a big concern with Subaru in general. The company’s assembly plant in Layfayette, Indiana, generates zero landfill waste. It’s a huge plant, and any waste that it produces is reused, recycled or used to create energy. They were the first automobile plant in the United States to become a zero landfill plant, and other automakers have been trying to follow suit. At CitySide Suburu we recycle as much as we can, from metal parts and tires to the oil that we drain from cars. We also recycle all of our paper and cardboard, which is a good thing since everything in our parts department arrives in boxes. Recently, we replaced all of our showroom lighting with LED lights. That should cut our lighting energy consumption by 85 percent.

Given those priorities, why doesn’t Subaru have any hybrid vehicles on the market?

It’s taken a long time for Subaru to produce a hybrid, but there is one coming out this fall. All of the Subaru cars are all-wheel drive, and it’s much more complicated to create a hybrid all-wheel drive car than a regular frontwheel drive hybrid. They did succeed, however, and so this fall we’ll see a hybrid model of the Subaru Crosstrek.

What is behind your passion for supporting animal rescue efforts?

I’ve always had animals, and every one of my pets came from a shelter. I personally donate a lot to various shelters and animal rights organizations. I think people get pets with the best of intentions, but sometimes they’re really not prepared for the commitment that it takes. So all of these animals end up in shelters and they just need a place to go. We want to make people aware of the great resources that are available to save an animal and get a loving pet in return. These rescue organizations have huge hearts and they do tremendous work. Ideally, I’d like to find an organization that promotes awareness and education to prevent animals from ending up homeless in the first place. And it’s not just dogs and cats. There’s a farm sanctuary in New York that’s always in need of support, and there are rescue places for gorillas, elephants and all kinds of wild animals. At CitySide Subaru, we love animals and we actually encourage customers to bring in their pets if they’re coming here to have their car serviced. We love having animals in the showroom, and we always like to meet a nice new dog. I want to mention, too, that our monthly newsletter features an “Ask the Vet” column. Customers send us questions and we submit them to veterinarians at the Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center of New England, in Waltham. Anyone who wishes to can send a veterinary question to and we’ll be sure to get it answered.

Location: 790 Pleasant St., Belmont. For more information about CitySide Suburu call 617-826-5000 or visit

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