Jamie Anschuetz-Gohlke takes helm of Cliff Anschuetz Chevrolet

News Photo by Darby Hinkley Bruce Anschuetz, and his daughter Jamie Anschuetz-Gohlke, stand in the dealership’s showroom next to a 1974 Caprice Classic owned by Bruce’s late father, Cliff Anschuetz. They are holding a photo from Nov. 20, 1989, when Cliff Anschuetz signed the dealership over to his son, Bruce. In that photo, from left to right, are Pat Marshall, Bruce Anschuetz, Cliff Anschuetz, and Gordy Anderson, taken at the Chevrolet office in Detroit.

ALPENA — Fifty years ago, Cliff Anschuetz started a Chevrolet dealership in Alpena. Now, that dealership has been passed down from his son, Bruce Anschuetz, to his granddaughter, Jamie Anschuetz-Gohlke.

Bruce Anschuetz, 65, plans to remain at the dealership for years to come, he noted. He will still personally hand out paychecks to the 48 employees on Fridays, as is customary in the hometown dealership, which is much like a family.

“We started in 1972, my dad and I,” said Bruce Anschuetz, who was just 15 at the time. “My dad did the same successor transfer with me as I did with Jamie.”

He said the dealership has been in business for 50 years, as of June, so it’s kind of a neat time to transfer the ownership to his daughter. The official transfer of ownership occurred on July 13.

“I’m going to still stay active,” Bruce Anschuetz explained. “As long as Jamie lets me,” he added, and they both laughed.

“I’m trying to get him to take a couple of days off, here and there,” she said. “At least one day off. He’s earned it, certainly, over the years.”

Jamie Anschuetz-Gohlke, 39, has worked with her dad at the dealership since before she graduated college in 2005. She graduated from Central Michigan University with a business management degree, and she recently completed a year-long required dealership course.

“Jamie has worked really hard to get to this,” Bruce Anschuetz said. “She had to go through a real difficult school this past year.”

“It was the NADA dealer academy, so there were dealers from all over the country,” Jamie Anschuetz-Gohlke said. “It was a really good experience.”

Bruce Anschuetz took over ownership of Cliff Anschuetz Chevrolet on Nov. 20, 1989, traveling down to Chevrolet headquarters in Detroit to complete the necessary paperwork.

Nowadays, the paperwork can be handled online.

Jamie Anschuetz has worked in the finance department, as well as on the selling floor. She knows the ins and outs of the car business, thanks to her dad and the experience she has gained under his leadership.

“My dad was a very good teacher,” Bruce Anschuetz said. “That helped me a lot. But it’s not much different today than it was 50 years ago, selling cars, except it’s a lot more internet-based.”

His daughter is more online savvy than he is, so he’s happy to relinquish that aspect of the business to her, although he knows it’s essential to success in the 21st century.

“You’ve still got to sell the car to the person,” said Bruce Anschuetz, adding what he thinks of buying a car online: “That’s all fine and dandy, but I just don’t think it’s the personal way to do it.”

Jamie is elated to continue what her grandfather started.

“I’m so excited,” she said. “We’ve been working on this for five years, I think … I’ve just been really excited to work side by side with my dad, realizing it’s more than just selling a car.”

Jamie’s husband is Paul Gohlke, and they have two daughters, Gracelyn, 10, and Riley, 7.

While Cliff Anschuetz himself is no longer with us, a part of him still lives on.

In the showroom sits a beautiful blue vintage convertible.

“This is a 1974 Caprice Classic,” Bruce Anschuetz said. “My dad ordered it in 1974, brand-new. He always wanted a convertible, and his partner, John Schultz, said that he’s crazy, because you’ll never sell a convertible in Alpena. I guess he’s right — we’ve still got it.”


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