SAN AUGUSTINE, Texas (KETK) – Since World War II, downtown San Augustine has been the home of San Augustine Motor Company.
Now, 75 years later, the same family still runs the same business, in the very same building.
“My father started this business in May of 1944 and I grew up in it,” said Dan Fussell, San Augustine Motor Company. “This is our 75th year and I’ve been here 50 of those 75 selling Ford cars and trucks.”
For the past half-century East Texans would often hear Dan Fussell’s signature catch phrase, “They got to go.”
And just like his father before him, Dan’s children grew up at the dealership and eventually followed in his footsteps.
“I grew up under my father, and my son John and my daughter Hollie have both wanted to be in the car business and they’re here with me now and both of them have been here over 20 years,” said Dan Fussell.
“Tradition runs deep in our family, it’s great to be a part of that. It’s family, it’s a family run operation we do things according to the community, according to East Texas,” said John Fussell, General Manager.
A family business in this line of work has become more and more rare these days, but the Fussells are amongst a dying breed still standing tall.
“A very rare thing especially with all the public ownerships that we now have,” said Larry Gach, regional manager of Ford Motor Company, Houston Office. “To see a family really engrained in their community and sticking with the same community for so long is great.”
The secret to their success is really no secret at all, just East Texas tradition.
“Even though the times have changed we still do things the old school way, one customer at a time,” said John Fussell.
“You know, it’s just two things about it,” said Dan Fussell. “Be honest and take care of your customers and try to help them.”
Both Dan’s father and grandfather served as mayor of San Augustine. Dan himself currently serves on city council.
San Augustine County Judge Jeff Boyd worked for Dan as a young man, and would one day coach John Fussell in Little League Baseball.
For more than a century the Fussell family has been proud to call San Augustine home and did what they could to serve the town they love.
With the next generation here, the family business can still live on, and make it to the 100th anniversary.
But before that day can get here…
“They got to go,” said Dan Fussell.