FACES of Flint & Genesee Business: Susan Applegate, Applegate Chevrolet

In 1928, Clyde Applegate opened a car dealership in downtown Flint during the city’s heyday. Two generations later, Susan Applegate continues the legacy that was built almost 100 years ago.

“My father took over the dealership in the late sixties, then I took over from my father a few years ago,” says Applegate. “My favorite part about carrying on the legacy is being able to continue the traditions like participating in big events such as Back to the Bricks.”

Although Flint has had its ups and downs, Applegate Chevrolet has continued to thrive in the community.

“We were able to survive because we sold a good product at a good price to a hometown crowd,” says Applegate. “We have been active in the community since we opened and I think that people appreciate it.”

Applegate Chevrolet strives to continue to be a good community member for years to come.

What did you learn from watching your father run the business?

I learned to have empathy and recognize that everyone has their own story. From employees to customers, you can never listen too much or give too much of yourself.

What is your business philosophy?

We strive to be part of the community. Our customers have been with us for a while or their parents were also customers. We have a collection of old advertising from throughout the years that people will find in their homes or their parents’ homes and give to us. We still see the Flint community the same way we did in the most prosperous times.

How has the business changed over the years?

It is still all about customer service. People want to feel like they are being taken care of. The only difference is that we are in a digital age, so the ways we advertise are different and we have to find new ways to reach customers.

How is your business involved in the community?

Outside of community events, we sponsor sports teams – although some may not be playing this year. We also have sponsored virtual events and we make an effort to support United Way of Genesee County.

Where do you like to spend your time in Flint and Genesee County?

I like to go to downtown Flint. There are a lot of places to eat including the Cork, Blackstone’s, 501 and Churchills. I also think the Flint Public Library at Courtland Center is really fun.

What plans does Applegate Chevrolet have for the future?

We want to continue being a member of the community. With the pandemic still here, we are also looking forward to next summer.

What advice would you offer business owners or future entrepreneurs?

I think that for every business you need to keep your initial costs low and just keep trying. Every day is a new opportunity!

For more information on Applegate Chevrolet, visit www.applegatechev.com.