Gave stock to the bank to continue serving customers during the depression.
In 1914, with $600 and high hopes, Otto P. Graff launched the Ford Sales Company in Flint, Michigan. He signed an agreement with the Ford Motor Company to sell 125 cars a year – he reached 150 the first year. Soon after, the dealership was renamed Otto P. Graff Motor Sales. The business continued to grow and in 1924 a new sales peak of 2,400 vehicles was reached, but then the depression hit. To keep the dealership open, Otto gave all stock in the corporation to the bank, which held it until 1948 when he made the final repayment to the bank.
In 1936, Max H. Graff, fresh out of college, went to work for his father. When Otto’s second son, Rex, returned from WWII, he was put in charge of the motor rebuilding department. Max’s son, Max H. “Hank” Graff, Jr., joined the family business in 1971, and a few years later he purchased his uncle Rex’s portion. The dealership is now in its fourth generation with the addition of Hank’s son, Chris Graff, and daughter and son-in-law, Kim and Keith Whitmore.
The family has added numerous franchises and locations, but more than 100 years and four generations later, the Graff family continues to operate the business with the high standards developed by Otto in 1914.