Transitioned to Chevrolet when Ford required dealers to start selling tractors.
Somewhere around 1913 Clayton Frei and Elmer Jones partnered on a Ford store, called Jones & Frei Motors. As the story goes, the dealership transitioned to Chevrolet in the 1920s when Ford’s business plan included painting every car black and stipulated that for every car a dealer sold they had to sell one tractor. Tractors were understandably a hard sell with the Upper Peninsula’s rock-laden ground. At this juncture, Clayton bought out Elmer Jones and Frei Chevrolet was born.
In 1945, Gerry Grundstrom married Clayton’s daughter, Virginia. Gerry was with the Air Force in India predicting weather for raids on Japan when he asked Clayton to put the engagement ring on Virginia’s finger. Gerry later took over at Frei in the early 1970s when Clayton Frei passed away. Passing along the reigns, Gerry and Virginia’s son, Jim Grundstrom, became president of Frei Chevrolet in 1990, and as tradition goes, the fourth generation, Andy and Jill, are now working in the family dealership.