About Bergstrom Motors


Lake Chevrolet Motor Company was founded in 1923 by Art Bergstrom and Bert Baldwin. Upon the death of Bert Baldwin in the thirties, Art became sole owner. The company has remained a family-owned business for 92 years.  Art Bergstrom's grandson, Renard, is the current owner.

Though the business has changed names as new franchises have been added, the original name, Lake Chevrolet Motor Company, was changed to Lake Chevrolet Company early on.  In the 1980s the name changed to Lake Chevrolet-Toyota- Buick. The Toyota franchise was added in 1985 and the Buick franchise two years later.   The dealership is now known as GM Auto Center.

For several decades the dealership headquartered in the handsome brick building located at Fifth Street and Third Avenue that opened its doors in 1938.  The present place of business is one block to the west of the original site, at Fifth Street and Second Avenue.

How it Began

In 1919 Art Bergstrom came to the Lake Region as a sales person for Fairbanks-Morris selling power plants for electrification to small towns in the region.  Art had grown up in Saint Paul, the son Peder and Hilma Carlson Bergstrom who immigrated from Sweden in 1882.  Peder was a Master Mason and as such was a Foreman for the brick laying of the construction of the Minnesota State Capitol building in Saint Paul, Minnesota. 

When Peder immigrated from Stockholm, Sweden, the family name was Persson, but upon his arrival in Saint Paul he found that there were very many people with the name Persson.  So he changed the family name to Bergstrom.  Art had fond memories of his childhood in Swede Hollow in Saint Paul.

Art enlisted in the U.S. Army during WWI and achieved the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.  When he returned to Saint Paul after the war he found that his office job with Fairbanks-Morris was waiting for him.  But he told his superiors that he preferred to be out in the field.  He was then offered a choice of jobs in North and South Dakota. He chose the Lake Region because he loved to hunt and fish.  He said that he fell so in love with this "little bit of wilderness" that he stayed for a lifetime.

In 1923,  Art teamed-up with Bert Baldwin to found Lake Chevrolet Motor Company. The two men were partners until Bert's death in the thirties.  His wife, Emily, continued with her interest in the dealership until the time of her death.  At that time Art became sole owner.

Art Bergstrom had a reputation as a stellar salesman with a simple business philosophy of always putting the customer first..  Art often said,  "Lake Chevrolet is the house that service built, and serving the customer always must come first."  Art's grandson Renard Bergstrom, who is the current owner, says,  "Serving the customer is a time honored tradition for all of us here at Lake General Motors Auto Center.  We are proud to carry on this fine tradition." 

Art was a great storyteller and related many colorful stories about the automobile business in the early days.  A favorite one was about the time they sold a car to James J. Hill when he was on a hunting trip in the Lake Region.

Art and his wife, Marge, had three sons.: Gene, Bill and John.  John became a Dentist who had a practice in Fargo.  Gene, the eldest son, became involved in the family car business in 1950.  Previously he had worked as a Teller in the Bank in Sheyenne, ND.

Bill entered the business in 1958. He had attended Macalester College  (Saint Paul, MN) and received his B.A. in Business from the University of Colorado (Boulder CO). The following two years he served in the U.S. Army during which time he was in charge of finance for the U.S. Army (England) - London, England, before returning home to the family Business.

Bill's son, Renard, is the next generation to hold the franchises.  A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs, CO), he served in the Air Force as a Fighter Pilot (flying the F-16) and Instructor Pilot.  He also flew with the North Dakota National Guard as an F-16 pilot with the Happy Hooligans.

Through the years, since opening its doors as Lake Chevrolet Motor Company in 1923, the organization has held the franchises for all American cars and also Toyota.  The General Motors dealership remains in Downtown Devils Lake while the Toyota Dealership and the Ford Dealership are on Highway Two bordering the town.

Showroom Hours

  • Monday 8:00am - 6:00pm
  • Tuesday 8:00am - 6:00pm
  • Wednesday 8:00am - 6:00pm
  • Thursday 8:00am - 6:00pm
  • Friday 8:00am - 6:00pm
  • Saturday 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Sunday Closed

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