Graff family dealerships celebrates 100th anniversary - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Graff family dealerships celebrates 100th anniversary

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(01/09/14) - It's a 4th generation, family-owned Mid-Michigan business that's kicking off its 100th anniversary celebration.

"It's unbelievable. It's incredible and exciting. I can't hardly believe it. I'm not 100 years old though, but I'm starting to look it," said co-owner, Hank Graff.

The Graff family of car dealerships plans to mark the centennial with parties and parade appearances throughout the year.

"Just have fun, not to brag about it, but just to celebrate with all those communities that have been so good to us," said co-owner, Chris Graff.

The business began in 1914. That's when the Ford Motor Company was looking for someone to take over a dealership at the corner of Court and Saginaw in downtown Flint.

Otto P. Graff happened be the Genesee County Treasurer at the time.

"He and my grandma had $600, and that got him going into the business and it's history ever since," said Hank Graff.

The first car Otto Graff sold was a Model T.

Next August, Otto's legacy will be celebrated during Back to the Bricks with a statue near the Genesee County Court house.

"Pretty cool. It's real exciting to be on that short list of people that influenced the automotive industry," said Chris Graff.

Graff made the shift from Ford to Chevrolet in 1982.

And the business has grown to 10 dealerships, with over 650 employees.

"Leona Nickerson hired in with my grandfather in 1933 and retired with me in 2003. For 70 years exactly, she worked for the family, and I think that's a record," said Chris Graff.

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