It’s about time one of Livonia’s oldest companies passed the baton to the next generation.
A third generation family member will be responsible for Bill and Rod’s appliance. Joe Legato, son of Kim and Linda Legato, will take over the longtime appliance store later this week after his parents decided to retire.
For years, Joe Legato said he wanted his parents to enjoy their retirement and he ran the shop. In 2021 he began to work intensively on it.
“It was a multi-year process,” said Joe Legato. “About five years ago, my father set a date for this. And I introduced pressure to it last year.”
Now, Joe Legato, who has worked at the store since graduating college in 2008, hopes to continue the long legacy originally started by his grandfather when the store began as an appliance repair shop in Garden City decades ago. It moved to Livonia in 1965 and found its current home at 15870 Middlebelt in 2013. The store specializes in selling and repairing appliances, including refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, and grills.
The family held a small gathering at the store on May 19 to celebrate the transition, with staff and members of the local community stopping by to see Kim and Linda Legato do their best.
One such person was Livonia Mayor Maureen Miller Brosnan, who said passing the business on to family members fits the city’s motto: “Families First”.
“The story of Bill and Rod is a great Livonia story,” she said. “It’s really at the heart of where we live as a community.”
New owners, same quality for customers
After spending decades with the business, Linda Legato said she’s happy to keep it in the family and in the hands of someone who invests in the brand.
“I trust him with my desk,” said Linda Legato. “We appreciate that we can put it in competent hands, someone with a vision who wants it to succeed. That it grows, that it is passed on to the next generation.”
Joe Legato said he doesn’t plan to make many changes as the new owner and said he wants to keep alive what has kept his reputation alive. But some adjustments will most likely come.
“We will continue our legacy of excellence and ensure we are customer-centric,” he said, adding that some changes are imminent. “We know appliances get very expensive. We know it’s a key investment in your home. What we want to do is put a maintenance plan in place for your appliances.”
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Bill and Rod sold the maintenance plans internally, with the work being performed by Bill and Rod’s employees. Joe Legato said he hopes to launch it in the coming months.
As for his parents, they plan to spend time working at local garden clubs, spending time with family, golf and service projects, he said.
They need to find something to do before they return to the store to help in any way: The transfer agreement has wording that dictates they must take six months off before returning 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 want to come back after that,” said Joe Legato. “That they enjoy what they do.”
Contact reporter David Veselenak at email@example.com or 734-678-6728. Follow him on Twitter @davidveselenak.