Family-run San Augustine Motors dates back to Great Depression

Family-run San Augustine Motors dates back to Great Depression

SAN AUGUSTINE, TX (KTRE) - These days of finding a small town business that's been open for 70 years in the very same location is quite a discovery.

East Texas News found just such a business with San Augustine Motors.

San Augustine Motors opened its doors as the country was recovering from the Great Depression. East Texans relied on Dan Fussell's father to provide them transportation. A vehicle moved a person forward and upward.

"This is a picture of my dad and Tom Roberts, a salesman here," said Dan Fussell, the owner of San Augustine Motors. "And this is the first car, 1946 Ford, after World War II. Cars were rationed, tires were rationed, everything was rationed during the war."

The automobiles have changed over the years, but the principle has remained untouched.

"Just to be honest and take care of your customers," Dan Fussell said.

The rule is learned early around the dealership. Fussell's daughter Holly Flynt recalled, "coming down sitting on my grandfather's knee as a little girl and waiting the cashier window and counting back the quarters and the pennies to the customers."

Today, Holly handles the dealership's accounting department.

Tradition is important to San Augustine motors. When things get rough, they know they can rely on that obligation to keep the business on the road.

Bankruptcy took the Fussells' Dodge franchise. Dan's son, John, stayed on to keep the Ford dealership vibrant. The tall Texans had big shoes to fill.

"My grandfather was 6'6", wore like a size 15 shoe," said John Fussell. "Literally big shoes to fill, yeah the tradition of things of that happened here for years is just something you just want to live up to, you want to continue and keep passing those down through the generations to come."

Two great granddaughters use the dealership show lot as a playground. Grace Flynt enjoys the down time. She has her own desk and answers the phone at the ripe age of five and a half.

"San Augustine Motor Company. May I help you?" Grace said.

San Augustine Motors is a place where a handshake seals a deal, where the whole town is invited to free barbeque, and family is never too far away.

Ford Motor Company recognizes its longstanding dealerships who reach 75 years and 100 years of service. The Fussells say they're working for that 100 year recognition.

Copyright 2014 KTRE. All rights reserved.