It’s time for one of Livonia’s oldest businesses to pass the ownership baton to the next generation.
Bill and Rod’s Appliance will see a third-generation family member in charge. Joe Legato, son of Kim and Linda Legato, will take over the longtime appliance shop later this week after his parents decided to retire.
For years, Joe Legato said he wanted his parents to enjoy retirement and he run the store. He began inquiring it in depth in 2021.
“It was a multi-year process,” Joe Legato said. “About five years ago, my dad kind of put a date on it. And I introduced the pressure on it last year.”
Now, Joe Legato — who worked at the store since graduating college in 2008 — hopes to continue the long legacy originally began by his grandfather when the business began as an appliance repair shop in Garden City decades ago. It relocated to Livonia in 1965 and found its current home at 15870 Middlebelt back in 2013. The shop specializes in appliance sale and repair, including refrigerators, washers, dryers and grills.
The family held a small gathering at the store May 19 to celebrate the transition, with employees and local community members stopping by to give their best to Kim and Linda Legato.
One of those people was Livonia Mayor Maureen Miller Brosnan, who said the passing down of the business among family members fits right in with the city’s motto: “Families First.”
“The Bill and Rod’s story is a great Livonia story,” she said. “It is really the heart of where we reside as a community.”
New owners, same quality for customers
After spending decades with the store, Linda Legato said she was happy to keep it in the family and keep it in the hands of someone who is invested in the brand.
“I’m trusting him with my desk,” Linda Legato said. “We appreciate being able to pass it on to competent hands, somebody that has vision, who wants to see it succeed. To want it to grow, to want it to go to the next generation.”
Joe Legato said he does not plan to make many changes as the new owner, saying he wanted to keep what’s kept his reputation alive going. But some adjustments will most likely come.
“We are going to continue on our legacy of excellence and we’re going to make sure that we’re customer-oriented,” he said, adding that some changes will be coming. ” We know that appliances are getting very expensive. We know that it is a key investment into your home. What we are looking to do is have a maintenance plan that we roll out for your appliances.”
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Bill and Rod’s would sell the maintenance plans in house with work done by Bill and Rod’s employees. It’s something Joe Legato said he hopes to launch in the coming months.
As for his parents, they plan on spending time working with local garden clubs, spending time with family, golfing and service projects, he said.
They’ll need to find something to do before coming back to the store to help in any capacity: the transfer contract has language requiring them to take six months off before coming back to the store.
The son hopes his parents enjoy their retirement and don’t feel the need to return to work.
“I don’t know if they’ll want to come back after that,” Joe Legato said. “That they enjoy what they’re doing.”
Contact reporter David Veselenak at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-678-6728. Follow him on Twitter @davidveselenak.