Rivard Brothers Ford Dealership History

Loyola "Jake" Rivard and Anthony "Tony" Rivard, Sr. owned the Rivard Brothers Garage, which began business in 1922 as an authorized Ford Sales and Service agency at 20955 Van Dyke in Baseline, Warren Township, Michigan (now Warren, MI). Among their employees was their brother Cecil, who did the bookkeeper for the dealership. The brothers also owned Macomb Ford (photo), a dealership located in a building they built (circa 1930) two miles to the north on Van Dyke at Qualmann Ave. in Center Line. That building became a Dodge-Plymouth dealership when it was sold to Thomas A. Grissom in about 1941. The Rivard brothers sold their original Ford dealership in 1956 to new owners who operated it as Trudell Ford.

Six of the photos below have been reproduced with permission in Henry Dominguez's new book "The Ford Dealership, Volume II: 1908-1970". If you enjoy looking at these kind of photos, you will certainly enjoy Volumes I and II of this series, which can be ordered by following the instructions located here.

(Photo used with the permission of Lynn (Rivard) Ferencz)
Above is the Rivard Brothers Garage as it appeared in the early 1920's. Their garage was located on the west side of Van Dyke,
between Fisher and Jackson Avenues. The railroad tracks on the east side of Van Dyke in this photo belonged to the Detroit
United Railway, which operated the
Center Line-Harper Streetcar between Harper Ave. in Detroit and Warren Blvd. in
Center Line. The third man from the left is Clarence "Buster" Ruttman, who lived nearby on Fisher Ave.

The brothers' business occupied Lots 13 through 18 of the "Rivard's Garden Subdivision", which was platted on March 20, 1920 by their parents Joseph and Frances Rivard, less than one month before his death. The 35 acre subdivision contained about 214 lots fronting on the west side of Van Dyke and along both sides of Yacht, Fisher, Jackson and Rivard Avenues as well as on the north side of Eight Mile Road, all east of Winfield Ave. Jackson Avenue was apparently named after the previous owners of the property, James and Daniel Jackson, while Yacht Ave. was likely named after the Yacht family who owned property just to the north.

According to the 1930 US Census, Loyola and his family lived nearby at 7625 Jackson Ave. (lot 106) and Cecil lived with his family at 7594 Rivard Ave. (lot 181). Here is a 1932 map showing the locations of their homes and business and to the right is a 1949 aerial photo outlining the dealership (large red rectangle), Loyola's house (small red rectangle just to the left of the dealership) and Cecil's house (the other small red rectangle a block to the southwest).

(Wayne State University/DTE Aerial Photo Collection)

(Photo used with the permission of Lynn (Rivard) Ferencz)
Christmas Display
Rivard Brothers Ford Showroom - 1926


(from the collection of Mike Grobbel)
The Rivard Bros. advertisment that appeared on the
back cover of the 1927 St. Clement Parish Calendar.



(Photo used with the permission of Lynn (Rivard) Ferencz)
Rivard Brothers Ford Parts Counter, circa 1930


(Photo used with the permission of Lynn (Rivard) Ferencz)

The management and salesmen of Rivard Brothers Ford, circa 1933-34.
From left to right: Raymond Rivard (Loyola's brother), unknown, Anthony "Tony" Buechel, Cecil Rivard, Jr., unknown,
Frederick Peters, Loyola "Jake" Rivard, Cecil Rivard, Clarence Wood and Anthony "Tony" Rivard, Sr.


In 1935, the Rivard Brothers purchased a gas station at the southeast corner of Van Dyke and McNichols. Two years later, the "Ford Dealers News" wrote an article about it. Click here to read "This Neighborhood Station Was Big Surprise to the Dealer" and view photos of it taken over the years.


(Photo used with the permission of Lynn (Rivard) Ferencz)

The owners and salesmen of Rivard Brothers Ford pose in this undated photo that was apparently taken in the late 1930s.
It is known that a group of them went on a trip together to Mexico and it is believed that is where this photo was taken
while they were aboard a sailing vessel of some kind. Back row, left to right: Loyola Rivard, Anthony Rivard, unknown,
Clarence Wood and Joe Weidenbach. Front row: Frederick Peters, Raymond Rivard, Anthony Buechel and
Alfred Rivard (son of Anthony).


(Photo used with the permission of Lynn (Rivard) Ferencz)
This 1941 photo shows the 1939 Ford panel truck driven by Tony Surdam to pickup and deliver parts for the service department.
Call SLocum-7220 for parts pickup and delivery!


Bump Shop Project

The Hazelton brothers (Bob, Butch and Jerry), turn a customer's damaged 1940 Ford into a 1941 model.
Click on an image to enlarge it.

(Photos used with the permission of Lynn (Rivard) Ferencz)


(Photo used with the permission of Lynn (Rivard) Ferencz)
Rivard Brothers Ford parts counter, June 1946.


(Photo used with the permission of Lynn (Rivard) Ferencz)
The mechanics who worked in the Rivard Brothers Ford service department, circa 1945-50.
Standing, from left to right: Loyola "Sonny" Rivard (son of Loyola "Jake" Rivard's brother, Raymond), Gene Rivard,
Butch Hazelton, Jerry Hazelton, Bud Ruttman (Buster's son), Julius Vanderbrook (married Mildred Grobbel, the
2nd cousin of Rosella (Snoblen) Rivard). Kneeling, left to right: Frank Oberliesen, Stan Ackley, Bob Hazelton.


(Photo used with the permission of Lynn (Rivard) Ferencz)
Cecil Rivard with his secretary, Marie Sherman, circa 1946-47.
Cecil was the dealership's bookkeeper.


(Photo used with the permission of Lynn (Rivard) Ferencz)
Rivard Brothers Ford, circa 1946.
Their facilities included a stand-alone Sunoco gas station, shown in greater detail below.


(Photo used with the permission of Lynn (Rivard) Ferencz)
Rivard Brothers Sunoco gas station, circa 1946.


(Photo used with the permission of Lynn (Rivard) Ferencz)
A closer 1946 view of the Rivard Brothers Ford Dealership.
Note the "Rivard's Mkt." panel truck parked to the left of the two 1946 Fords. Rivard's Market was in Center Line at
25258 Van Dyke and was owned by Aurelius "Real" Rivard, the younger brother of Loyola, Anthony and Cecil. Another brother,
Joseph, owned the Rivard Appliance and Sport Shop at 21045 Van Dyke in Baseline.


(from the collection of Mike Grobbel)
This February 1949 ad appeared in the Center Line, Mich. Metropolitan Club Spirit #54 Yearbook.
The brothers also operated two used car lots, one at the southwest corner of Eight Mile and Van Dyke and
another on the northeast corner of Van Dyke and Fisher Ave.


(Photo used with the permission of Lynn (Rivard) Ferencz)
Rivard Brothers Ford managers and salesmen at a Christmas party, (circa 1950s).
From left to right: Tony "Sparky" Rivard, Jr., unknown salesman, Tony Buechel, Tony Rivard, Sr., Cecil Byrd,
Cecil Rivard, Loyola "Jake" Rivard, Gerald Rivard (son of Loyola's brother Raymond),
Ford Motor Company representative (name unknown).


(Photo used with the permission of Lynn (Rivard) Ferencz)
Rivard Brothers Ford , circa 1954.


Raymond Rivard (Raymond's son) was a Service Manager at Rivard Brothers Ford and he said that often when he would arrive in the morning there would be several cars lined up outside the service entrance door with keys left in the ignition and notes on their windshields indicating what was wrong with their car.  He would drive them inside, write them up and get them fixed for the trusting customers. Every Friday the dealership would cash checks for anyone who needed this service. The dealership did a lot of business on credit and this made it convenient for those who bought their cars on credit to make their car payment as they got their check cashed.


(Photo used with the permission of Lynn (Rivard) Ferencz)
Members of the bowling teams sponsored by the Rivard Brothers Ford Dealership, circa 1953-56.
They bowled at Linden Recreation (8529 E. Eight Mile Rd. in Baseline, Mich.), which is where this photo was taken.
From left to right: Bud Ruttman, unknown, John Sopoliga, Stan Ackley, Tony Rivard, Jr.,
Tony Surdam, Tony Buechel, Bill Susick, George Jackson and Kenny Rivard.

"It's the end of model-year round-up!"

(Photo used with the permission of Lynn (Rivard) Ferencz)
The managers and sales staff of Rivard Brothers Ford strike a light-hearted pose in this undated photo.

Left to right: unknown, Tony Buechel, Raymond Rivard, Cecil Rivard, Joe Weidenbach,
Loyola Rivard, Clarence Wood.


Clarence Wood was a salesman at Rivard Brothers Ford during its entire existence from 1922 through 1956. He stayed on for a short time with Trudell after the dealership was sold and then left to join the staff at Clem Rinke Ford on Van Dyke at Chicago Road. Clarence's son Barney and grandson Tom have continued what is now an 88 year long sales relationship with Ford Motor Company through their ownership of Northgate Ford in Port Huron, Michigan.


(Photo used with the permission of Lynn (Rivard) Ferencz)
Rosella and Loyola Rivard in the front yard of their home on Jackson Ave.
in Baseline, Warren Twp. The Rivard Bros. dealership is in the background.


Two events contributed to Loyola and Anthony Rivard's decision to eventually sell their business in 1956. The first involved a confrontation with union organizers. Several carloads of union men drove up the the dealership and they exited their cars with baseball bats held in their hands. They made it clear that they were going to "encourage" the dealership employees to sign authorization cards so that their union could represent them.  Loyola went out to meet them with the night watchman's handgun that was normally kept in a drawer and told them to "get the hell off this property".  The organizers left without further incident.  All who knew Loyola said that kind of response was uncharacteristic of him, but that he had reacted instinctively against the threat to his employees, who according to his nephew Raymond Rivard, were very satisfied with their working conditions and had no desire to join a union. The final straw came when the Ford Motor Company told them that they needed to relocate their dealership. Loyola and Anthony were nearing retirement age and felt that would be too much effort for too little return so they put the business up for sale, ending a family-run business that had served many customers in the area for 34 years.


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This page created: 02 Jan 2008; Last revised: 25 Nov 2013
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