We’re Ready for Summer!

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

We’re ready for Summer! Are you?It may be hard to believe, but we love having fun away from work too! Here are some Summer activities folks here at the dealership are looking forward to.

“I’m excited to spend the summer with my very first nephew, Weston!” – Sam Reetz (Media & Marketing Specialist)

Weston – Picture by: Sam Reetz

“I am looking forward to our camping trip in June in Indian River, MI. We will be going boating, river tubing, and spending time with family.” – Mark Brock (New Car Sales Manager)

“I look forward to spending time with family/friends, playing ice hockey, and working towards my goals! Hope everyone has a safe, fun, and positive summer!” – Scott Naples (Sales Professional)

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

“I am looking forward to more barbecuing, hanging out with friends and visiting Lake Michigan this Summer.” – Taylor Gradowski (Media & Marketing Director)

 Ludington, Michigan – Lake Michigan (Picture by: Taylor Gradowski)

“I look forward to camping this year.” – Adam Cruff (Parts Manager)

Toyota Sienna Vans hauling a boat and a camper. (Picture by: Adam Cruff)

“I look forward to traveling with my kids” – Stephanie Histed (Service Advisor)

“I look forward to spending time with my dog.” – Alexandra Sauer (Sales Professional)

“I look forward to an absurd amount of golfing.” – Adam Everett (Sales Professional)

“I am looking forward to northern Michigan camping and visiting Mackinaw Island” – Andrew Schwaiger (Sales Professional)

No matter where we’re going or what we’re doing, we have plans to go places.

Question is, where will you go or what will you do?


Labadie Toyota is a Toyota dealer located in Bay City, Michigan. As part of our “People Going Places” efforts, where we highlight those in our community who have stories to share, we’d like to encourage you to reach out to us. If you are interested in submitting a piece as a guest blogger, please email us at contact@labadieauto.com. We’d love to hear from you! :)





4 Useful Tips for Planning Your Next Road Trip

The open road – Picture Courtesy of Pixbay.com

With many of us celebrating spring break in the coming weeks and warm weather and summer fun just around the corner, it couldn’t be a better time to jump in the car to take a family road trip. Whether you’re going on vacation, visiting family and friends, or checking off the next item on your bucket list, here are some helpful tips for a successful getaway.

Rev Up the Fun

Growing up in a time without iPhones and tablets, many of us remember taking family road trips playing 21 Questions or singing along to the radio. Make your next outing a technology-free event and make some memories too. Remember Mad Libs – the comical fill in the blank storybooks they used to sell at the school book fair? They’re only a couple bucks on Amazon, provide many laughs, and are a fun way to brush up on your grammar skills. Another favorite is road trip bingo. Print a few bingo cards with spaces that feature items you might see on the highway (think a traffic barrel or McDonalds). You won’t believe how fast the time will fly when you’re playing games.

Accelerate Your Snack Options

Whether it’s an all-day trip or just a few hours, every good road trip needs snacks. Although it can be tempting to grab something at the gas station or a fast food restaurant, bringing your own snacks is a healthier and cost-effective choice. Fill a cooler with lidded drinks and sandwiches, and bring some individually packaged pretzels and cookies. You’ll satisfy your restless travelers and cover lunch at the same time. Don’t forget some Wet-Naps and a trash bag in case there are any messes!

Make a Pit Stop

After a couple hours on the road, it is inevitable that someone is going to need to stop for a restroom break or to do some stretching. Instead of stopping at a rest stop, schedule a break at a unique local attraction or museum. This is also a great opportunity to stop for ice cream at one of the many small town shops off the beaten path. Forgetting about the destination and enjoying the stops along the way will help you make great memories that will last a lifetime. And remember to take some pictures!

Plan for Curves in the Road

Although today’s cars are safer and more reliable than ever, it’s always good to be prepared for any bumps in the road before heading out on a long trip. Make sure your car maintenance is in order and check for things like wipers, batteries, fluid levels, and tire pressure. This is also a good time to restock your emergency kit with items like blankets, flashlights, and first aid supplies. Finally, be sure your GPS navigation system is up-to-date; this will help you get to your destination quickly, avoiding roadwork and traffic congestion.

Planning a road trip doesn’t have to be a daunting task. When you’re well prepared, you have more time to focus on having fun and making memories with family and friends. Follow these simple steps and you will be sure to have a safe and pleasant road trip experience this summer.
Mel Quist is a senior writer at Venture6 Studio—a creative agency in Bay City, Michigan that specializes in video production, branding and marketing, and content strategy. Special thank you for his contribution to this week’s blog.

Views and opinions expressed in this article does not necessarily reflect those of Labadie Toyota, Labadie Auto Company or groups and individuals within. For more information on how you can contribute a guest blog, please contact us at contact@labadieauto.com for consideration. Thank you!

People Going Places

Picture courtesy of pixabay.com

It is always inspiring to learn of someone’s journey from the valley to the mountain. Everyday, people accomplish a variety of great things, big and small. Those great things are what make us who we are and inspire others to chase their great things.

We’d like to take this opportunity to welcome guest blog authors to submit an inspirational, family-friendly article encouraging others to keep going places.

You can submit your article for consideration at: contact@labadieauto.com.

General Manager, TJ Horner shares his success, sales strategy, culture and motivation in his presentation video below. Check it out and be inspired! :)

Quick Guide to Happiness

Courtesy of pixabay.com free images

Happiness is a relative term. What defines it, is often different for various individuals. It could be peace, wealth, or something as simple as the first cup of coffee in the morning.

Overall happiness is more than short term contentment. It’s about adding up all the positives in life and being thankful and content with what life has brought us. Things will go wrong, life won’t be fair and our plans are destined to be paved with roads we never planned to travel. How we react to all events, the good and the bad, is how we can essentially measure our level of happiness.

So, here we are in February of 2018. By now you may have forgotten about those resolutions you set shortly after we rung in the new year. You may not have gotten the promotion or big opportunity you were hoping for. You may be facing health issues, lack of money, loss of a loved one or the like.  As I previously mentioned, though we cannot control that of which is around us, we can control how we react to it. We learn how to take life’s lemons and make lemonade. :)

Courtesy of pixabay.com free images

Here are 5 quick thoughts on how to achieve a happier outlook on life, regardless of your situation.


1.) De-clutter. Studies have shown that excessive anything can have a negative effect on your life. For example, recent studies have shown increases in anxiety and depression associated with excessive use of social media. Therefore, set limits or remove the key anxiety/depression sources altogether. Same with your environment and schedule. Prioritize who and what is most important and remove what is not worth your time or takes up your space. You will find as you de-clutter, the anxiety and stress will minimize.

2.) Give. Have you ever thought, “Why do I have so much time/stuff/money?” Oftentimes it seems as if it is our destiny to give back something. If you have time, use it to volunteer and possibly change a person’s life with your actions or words of encouragement. If you have stuff, donate it to the local shelter or find someone who could use something that you are not. If you have an abundance of money, find a great organization to donate, to help others in need. Everyone has something to contribute and giving can feel good.

3.) Encourage. Everyone can use a kind word or smile. The world is full of negativity and deception. Read or watch anything on the news or on the internet. The world is telling us we need to go faster, be smarter, be thinner, be richer and be better than the next guy. This will only cause more stress and heartache for you. In the end, we all pass away and there’s no avoiding it. Take a moment to encourage others and in the same way you will be encouraged to cherish every moment you’re living.

4.) Be different. Try something different. Whether it’s food, a different route to work/school/home or even learning about a new culture. Trying something different will open your eyes to new opportunities you never dreamed of. You will grow your character and be more adventurous in your time to come.

5.) Live. Laugh. Love. February is often known for Valentine’s Day. While love is the air during that time, we need to remind ourselves to live well, laugh often and love like there is no tomorrow. It is a reminder that the little things in life are truly worth caring about. Whether it is a simple smile, a kind gesture or taking a moment to take it all in, we have purpose in this life for a greater tomorrow.

Happiness cannot truly be sustained by material things in this life. True happiness cannot be found in pizza, money, vacations and the like. These are short lived and fade away soon after. The pizza is ate, the money is spent and vacation is over. And even if you had unlimited vacation and money, would you still be happy?

True happiness comes from the heart of a person who avoids the negativity, is thankful, giving, and truly content with what they have each and everyday.  Happiness is about keeping it simple and not getting caught up in the everyday hustle and bustle.

We have a choice, everyday, to decided whether or not we will strive for true happiness. It begins with a positive attitude and the decisions on who and what we will let guide our paths.

The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Labadie Toyota. This blog was written as a word of encouragement and enjoyment.



What Are You Thankful For?

Every year around this time, folks tend to start looking around and looking back at what they are thankful most for. Often times we may forget in the busy-ness of our lives that we can be thankful for a lot both big and small. Even the good and the bad can mold us to be thankful individuals.

This year at Labadie Toyota, we asked everyone what they are thankful most for. Here are a few responses.

Jake Finn
“Far too often it seems the things that mean the most  to us are tangible and materialistic throughout the majority of the year.  New pair of shoes, being able to go to a fancy expensive restaurant, or that shiny new car you’ve had your eye on for quite some time and you’re thankful that you were finally able to get it.  Not that there is anything wrong with any of these endeavors, I’m a firm believer that hard work pays off, and those that work hard for and toward something should be able to reap the benefits of their hard work – but for me when the seasons turn the corner at Halloween, Thanksgiving approaching, Christmas right around the corner – you realize every year it seems; for me at least, that the things I truly am the most thankful for, are sitting and staring right back at me at the same table. Far too often we get lost as individuals in the idiosyncrasies we develop and implement into our everyday lives, and we forget who and what has the most value in this world – the people that raised us and we choose to have close to us.  Every year sitting down at that table, I’m reminded how lucky I am, and that is what I am the most thankful for – the worth of the people in my life, and being able to have the time to sit down and get to know one another again.” – Jacob “Jake” Finn – (Sales Professional)
Adam Cruff & Family

“I’m thankful for a healthy family and a home to live in.  Seems simple and cliche, however, currently my in-laws from Puerto Rico are staying with us after being displaced by hurricane Maria.  My wife and I are thankful her parents survived the storm, and that we were able to get them here to Michigan.  My three girls are enjoying having abuela (Grandma) and abuelo (Grandpa) around the house, so there is much for me and my family to be thankful for this year.”
Adam Cruff (Parts Manager)


Tim Kolka

“I am thankful for my beautiful wife who is the best wife I could ask for! I’m thankful for my two beautiful and kind daughters Olivia and Jenna. those 2 can me smile no matter how crabby I am. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!”
– Tim Kolka (Rental Manager)

Al Gradowski

“I’m thankful for my family, and customers that I can call my friends!I’m thankful that I can walk, talk, and chew bubblegum – all at the same time. I’m thankful for each day I’m given as it is a gift that is why it’s called the Present.”
– Al “Big Al” Gradowski (Sales Professional)


Andy Mahoney – Sales Professional

“Looking back on 2017, its been one heck of a journey, and I have a lot to be thankful for. First and foremost, I am thankful for my family. I am blessed with amazing parents and couldn’t ask for better as they continue to be an important part of my life. I am also thankful for my brother and sister-in-law, and being able to watch my adorable two-month old niece grow up so much this year. I am also thankful for my awesome friends, co-workers and being a part of such a great company. I am thankful that people who I work with have become some of my best friends. I’m lucky to have such an awesome support team, and be surrounded by such great people at Labadie Toyota. It’s great knowing that I have amazing people in my corner.. these guys are the best!I’m also thankful for my health. With out my health, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience all of the awesome things life had to offer this year, nor would have been able to grow as much as I did as a person this year. Thanksgiving is a perfect time to not let these things go unnoticed… Good health = GREAT Life!” – Andrew “Andy” Mahoney – Sales Professional

Ultimately, we’re thankful for you, our loyal customers, friends and family. We thank you for your support, kindness and choosing us to be a part of your life, especially when it comes to your vehicle needs.

We sincerely hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a great rest of the year too!

From all of us and our families to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! :)


GOOOAAALLLL!!! $12,500!

TJ and Jeff Check Presentation
TJ Horner (Left) presents the check to Jeff Larsen (Right)

One car at a time is all it takes.

On October 1st, 2017 we set a goal to raise $100 for every car sold to reach a goal of $12,000 for the American Cancer Society through Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event in Midland, Michigan. On October 31st, we exceeded that goal with a final total of $12,500 (125 Cars Sold).

(Left to Right) Kyle Plant (Finance), AJ Simon (Sales), Mark Brock (New Car Sales Manager), Andy Mahoney (Sales) and Adam Everett (Sales)

Raising money for the fight against breast cancer was a no-brainer as the folks at Labadie Toyota geared up with pink bracelets and decked out the dealership with pink balloons with a mission to raise money to save lives. General Manager, TJ Horner agreed that this campaign had to happen, commenting “We are always looking for a way to help out the community. When this opportunity came up, I knew we had to be a part of it,” For TJ, the fight hits home personally as he added “With both of my parents being cancer survivors and my mom beating breast cancer, I really felt like this was a good fit for us.”

Professional Salesmen (Left to Right) Cody Brewington, Charles Englehardt and Scott Naples

Yesterday, November 8th, TJ Horner presented the $12,500 check on behalf of the team at Labadie Toyota to Jeff Larsen from the American Cancer Society at 1pm. They were joined by fellow staff members and a crew from the local TV news team WNEM News 5 to share the great news with the community.

Shortly after the check traveled throughout the dealership for various sales, service and staff members to take a photo with, to reflect on the team’s accomplishment this past October.

Patty Alderton (Internet Sales)


Al Gradowski (Sales)
Bill Winchell (Detail Specialist)

At Labadie Toyota, we have two primary goals, helping you go places and helping make a positive impact on the community. We thank you for your continued kindness and support as we continue to reach our goals.
***We may know of a loved one, family or friend who has cancer or is battling cancer. Please take a moment and consider joining the fight against cancer through the American Cancer Society. Thank you.***

Giving Hope, One Car at a Time

Jeff Larsen (Left) from The American Cancer Society and TJ Horner (Right) General Manager at Labadie Toyota kick things off for this month’s fundraiser for Breast Cancer Awareness

We’ve been very fortunate. We’ve got a great team. Amazing customers. And an ambition to help change the world.

This month, we decided to set some high expectations and give hope to those who face breast cancer in the form of a $12,000 donation to the American Cancer Society through the event Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in Midland, Michigan. For every car we sell, we’re donating $100 toward the cause. $12,000 is our goal, however, we can also surpass it.

According to the American Cancer Society, by the end of 2017, an estimated 252,710 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. About 40,610 women will die from it. Awareness of the disease, early detection and treatment has decreased the breast cancer rates by 39% since 1989. Imagine what findings, treatments or cures could exist in the years to come.

We’re very much looking forward to reaching our goal and beyond. Every dollar counts in the effort to fight against this disease. We welcome you to join us in the fight against breast cancer.


Lease or Buy? That is the Question…

Labadie Toyota – Spring 2017

Shall I lease or buy my next vehicle? That is the question.

In this day and age, you can lease just about anything. Leasing is the ultimate “try before you buy and/or no commitment way of enjoying life’s pleasures without getting too attached. You can even lease friends these days! (Source: http://www.rentafriend.com) Unreal!

Yet there are some things that go beyond the temporary enjoyment of having something in your own possession. Sometimes you may bond with something or perhaps that something becomes obsolete and have a hard time letting go. For example, the Scion brand. (Or specifically in this author’s case, the Scion XB)

Regardless of where you stand, the ultimate question remains. Do you buy or do you lease? This is more than miles, commitment and cost. It’s a combination of those things, who you are and where you’re going.  For the sake of this article, let’s consider Toyota leasing and buying based on this  author’s experience.

1.) If you BUY or LEASE, especially through Toyota, you automatically get ToyotaCare. This includes 2 years or 25,000 miles of maintenance (oil changes, tire rotations, 37 point inspections) and 2 years of Roadside Assistance. The average maintenance visit could cost an estimated $50.00 on up, depending on your vehicle and where you live, before any applicable tax. So far, you’re saving on maintenance in your first two years. Not to mention you have Toyota Warranties which is 3 years/36,000 miles for Basic Warranty and 5 years/60,000 miles for Powertrain Warranty. Once again, you’re winning! :)

1.A.) If you’re leasing and adhere to the usual 3 years / 36,000 mile (lease terms may vary) you have options at the end of your lease. Do you upgrade to a new model? Do you buy or lease another model? Do you buy your current model? Or, are you OK with walking/biking/jogging everywhere? Some may forget that last option is a real one. :) With leasing, there is a possibility of a lower monthly payment, no commitment after all is said and done and a chance to drive something new. (Remember though, the vehicle has to be kept in great condition with minimal general wear and tear.) If you continue doing business with Toyota, the ToyotaCare cycle begins anew with a new lease or buy.

1.B.) If you’re planning to buy. Buying is a great option for a lot of reasons. One, the vehicle is yours. For some of you truck folks who like to haul stuff, pull stuff, push stuff and drive through stuff, this is option works well. You can define “Wear and tear” after you purchase the vehicle. Like anything else, when you buy it, it’s yours. Maintenance will cost at this point, however, if you purchased new, you know who the original owner is and how well taken care of the vehicle was. A new vehicle can last you a very long time if maintained properly. At Labadie Toyota, we’ve seen customers bring vehicles with 200,000 miles or more on them. Granted the vehicle needs were met along the way. (Tune-ups, brakes, tires, fluid flushes, etc). Like anything else, if you take care of it, it will take care of you. The buying option also gives you freedom to run the wheels off the vehicle and rack up the miles. It is your vehicle. So if you like to make a round trip from Boston to Los Angeles every week, have at it! :)

Both buying and leasing a vehicle has it’s advantages. Many places may try to sway you one way or another. As this author writes, I’ve experienced both. I’ve leased two Scion (Former Toyota brand) vehicles and purchased the second one because I loved the vehicle. The Scion XB was no longer in production and the brand was being phased out, therefore I made my purchase. During my lease experience both times, I took the vehicle on a few 600 mile long weekend trips and to work five days a week an estimate 40 miles a day. I tell you this, because many people may state that millage limitations with a lease is the issue. If you honestly calculate your estimated millage a year (unless your a traveling business person) you may not even see 10,000 miles a year.

In conclusion, the answer is simply this: do your homework. What works best for you may not work best for your neighbor. It can be a great feeling to drive something new every couple of years, just as much as it feels to have gone thousands a miles on adventures with a vehicle you call your own. There is no better option than the best option that works for you.


For more information on Leasing or Buying a brand new Toyota vehicle, call Labadie Toyota at 989-684-2222 or check us out online at: http://www.labadietoyota.com. We also have pre-owned vehicles which are inspected, tested, reconditioned and ready for the road in all makes and models. We’re here to help you go places! :)

Labadie Advantage Program


Labadie Advantage Program

Why shop and purchase at Labadie Toyota? We have a friendly and knowledgeable staff throughout the dealership and various ways to stay in contact with us as well! After your vehicle purchase, we’re not through with assisting you. If you have questions, need service or simply looking for something different to drive, contact us. Call, Text, Email and Facebook Message us! It’s all a part of the Modern Dealership Experience. We’re here to help you go places! :)