Ask anyone: It’s hard to find a reliable used car these days – especially an affordable one.
But Bill Boldizsar is working to fix that problem with a new Port Huron business called $4000 Cars.
“Up until now, our community didn’t really have a dealership that consistently sold used cars in the $4,000 to $8,000 range – and that’s the niche I’m hoping to help,” says Boldizsar, whose new business is located at 411 10th St. in Port Huron.
“Like a lot of places, Port Huron has college students, single moms, kids graduating high school, or people just looking for a reliable second vehicle and they just can’t find a reasonably priced and reliable used car.”
It’s the same story across the nation.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ used car index, which tracks used car prices, has risen by 42%
from December 2019 to October 2022.
Economists say the spike in used car demand stems, in part, from an ongoing shortage of new cars since the pandemic began in early 2020. A shortage of computer chips for new vehicles and persistent supply chain issues have severely curtailed the number of new cars available.
And fewer new car sales mean fewer used car trade-ins on dealership lots.
Boldizsar spent his career in transportation and distribution logistics, owning Port Huron Express Truck Repair for many years. After 10 years in retirement, though, the 72-year-old decided to get back in the game.
Located at 411 10th St. in Port Huron, $4000 Cars is helping to meet the demand for reliable mid-priced used cars.
Before pursuing this new endeavor, he worked with The Underground
and the Community Foundation of St. Clair County
to finalize a strong business plan. He was later able to obtain funding from the Michigan Women Forward Microloan Fund
which received an investment from the Community Foundation to support local micro-businesses.
The purpose of the fund is to support the growth and development of Michigan entrepreneurs and business owners, with an emphasis on empowering women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color.
“Our goal is to create a dedicated source of capital for all Michigan entrepreneurs who, for a variety of reasons, do not have access to traditional sources of capital,” says Maggie Toole, business development officer for Michigan Women Forward.
Michigan Women Forward targets small businesses needing capital to spark initial business moves or drive new strategic change in their business.
“Bill was one of our first clients in St. Clair County,” Toole says. “He not only has a great business sense, but he was also experienced and established in his profession before retiring.”
Boldizsar opened the doors to $4000 Cars in January 2022.
“Since then, we’ve brought on a certified master mechanic so we can do our own repairs in-house, and also offer our services to the public for whatever car repair needs they have,” Boldizsar says. “We also have an auto detailer on staff here with those services also available to the public.”
Boldizsar also initiated a unique partnership with St. Clair County Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA)
, which offers career and technical education programs to high school juniors and seniors. The entrepreneur worked with TEC leaders to hire a second-year auto technology student as an intern at $4000 Cars.
The partnership was a win for the student, who received important hands-on experience with minor repairs and for $4000 Cars.
“I was happy to give this young man a chance to work for us and I look forward to hiring other students in the community down the road,” Boldizsar says.
So far, the biggest challenge for $4000 Cars is keeping inventory on the lot, he says.
“It’s been tough staying within my price range. Like everything else, it’s going up exponentially so I’m trying to hold the line as best I can,” he says. “But I enjoy doing this. It makes me feel really good that I’m helping people and the new business has been well received.”
Toole said she’s glad that Boldizsar brought his unique idea to the region.
“Quality cars at good prices are so important to a thriving community,” she says. “He’s got a good location, he’s got a good business model, and I think it’s great that he’s giving back to the community.”