“I‌ ‌Love‌ ‌the‌ ‌People‌ ‌that‌ ‌I‌ ‌Work‌ ‌With”:‌ ‌Mary‌ ‌Hickmott’s‌ ‌Story‌ ‌

We all have different chapters in our lives. Some are unexpected. Some are challenging.

Mary Hickmott knows both.

“I didn’t really see myself in the automotive world,” said Mary, who works as a clerk at Garber Chevrolet Buick in Chesaning, Michigan. “It just fell into place.”

A difficult family situation steered Mary’s life towards an uncharted destination that required adaptability and strength.

“The place I worked closed, and then I had my son in 2001, who was very sick, so I stayed home and took care of him,” she said.

Mary’s son was born with a rare genetic condition that caused intractable seizures. Sometimes he would have hundreds of seizures a day. At first, the doctors didn’t know what to do. 

Then the answer came.

“The doctors said, ‘You and your husband are both carriers of this genetic disorder, and any future children you may have might have this. Your son might not make it through the night.”

But he did. 

“We took him home,” she said. “A month later, he was waking up. We started doing treatments and went along a different path. He had such a will to live.”

Mary decided to forgo working a day job so she could stay home and take care of her son. She dedicated her life to caring for his life. 

In 2015, he passed away. 

“My son was 13 and a half years old when he died,” she said. “I stayed home and took care of him all of those years.”

Despite hardships, the world still spins…even when it feels like it shouldn’t. Mary decided to go back to work.

“After his death in 2015, I was working at Morley in Saginaw, and then I saw this job at the dealership [LaClair Sales in Chesaning] opened up, which was closer to where I lived,” she said. “I applied, had the interview and was hired on the same day.”

Mary put one foot in front of the other. A new path opened up, leading her straight to Garber.


A New Chapter

Born and raised in Chesaning, Mary got hired on as a clerk for LaClair Sales in October 2018. Garber acquired the dealership in August 2020, right in the heart of the Covid-19 global pandemic.

Mary wasn’t worried about the ownership change. Quite the opposite, actually.

“I wasn’t nervous about Garber coming in; I was actually fairly excited,” she said. “With LaClair, they were great people, but they didn’t have the same opportunities for technology, for upgrading things, and a bigger organization could offer that. When Garber first came in and said we could get two computer screens, I was like, ‘Yes!’ It makes such a difference. The IT dept…the resources…there’s so much more support from that standpoint.”

Once under the Garber umbrella, the dealership also could cast a wider net to help customers get what they wanted.

“It was a great advantage to be able to trade between the dealerships,” she said. “That made a big difference, being able to say, ‘Well, we’ve got one of those vehicles in Saginaw.’

Along with more resources, Garber’s processes helped add consistency and productivity.

““When Garber came in, the big changes were learning new programs and getting those things set up…learning the processes that were needed to move forward to get things rolling,” Mary said. “The processes bring consistency for everybody. We are held accountable to make sure we all follow through with the processes, and everyone does a really good job.

Efficiency was key, Mary explained, since the dealership started to get busier. Much busier.

“Once Garber came in, we doubled, then tripled or more what we were doing before,” she said. “From a culture standpoint, it’s a lot busier. We are just so busy all the time now. Everybody is focused on getting things done.”


‘I am Grateful’

As a Garber team member, Mary is proud to recommend the dealership to those she knows and loves.

“The friends and family I hadn’t talked to in a while heard I worked for Garber, and they would call me and say, ‘Do you have this car? Do you have that vehicle?’” she said. “The Garber name carries a good reputation and a lot of weight. I bought my car here and had some of my very close friends and family buy from here. Garber actually works with customers. We tell them what they need. We don’t take advantage of people.”

Going through a dealership acquisition plus a global pandemic was unexpected. But as always, Mary marched on, and continues to do so. This time, she has a whole team at Garber by her side.

“It’s been a very weird year because we had Covid going on when Garber took over, but through it all, you just take it as it comes,” she said. “You come in and do the very best that you can and try to be kind to everybody. There’s a great group of people here.”

She said her son’s life helps shape the attitude she brings to work at Garber each day.

My son’s life definitely changed my attitude about life,” she said. “I am grateful. I love the people that I work with.”




What was your first job? My first ever job was working as a dishwasher at Artie’s Diner in Oakley, Michigan.

Favorite animal? I have always loved dolphins. They’re so happy.

What are three things you can’t live without (aside from food, water, air…)? Coffee, sunlight and my family

What is something people would be surprised to know about you? A lot of people would be surprised to know that I have only worked in the car industry for about three years. I’m always willing to help people. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll make the phone calls and direct them to who can help them. I’m not one to say, ‘Oh, I don’t know, ask someone else.’ I will try to find a solution.

What was the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and who gave it to you? My aunt said to me after my son died, because she had also lost a son: “You have now lived through the hardest thing you’ll ever have to live through. Everything else will be a piece of cake.” That is the best advice I have ever heard. It was the most comforting thing.


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Lindsay Henry

Lindsay Henry

Lindsay is the Digital Communications Manager for Garber Automotive Group.

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