Fitzgerald’s Auto Mall | Bethesda Magazine

Test of Time


Fitzgerald’s Auto Mall

Dottie & Jack Fitzgerald

21 Locations in Rockville, Wheaton, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Frederick, Annapolis, Lexington Park, Chambersburg, PA, Clearwater, FL


“When we first opened we were downtown in Bethesda in 1966,” recalls Dottie Fitzgerald. Her older brother Jack had concluded the sale agreement on a napkin at the Hot Shoppes on Connecticut Avenue. “The first dealership was called Colonial Dodge. Dodge was all we sold.”

The Fitzgeralds founded their dealerships long before Bethesda was the Bethesda we know today. Before the growth of the National Institutes of Health and the National Naval Medical Center. The original Colonial Dodge was in a converted gas station on Old Georgetown Road.

“The biggest concern we had when we opened Colonial Dodge on Rockville Pike was that we didn’t want our longtime customers to think we were moving far away. We were just up the road a piece and we moved the weekend of my birthday.”

“We’ve seen lots of changes, not just in Bethesda,” says Dottie. “Today we sell more imports than domestics, with Hyundai and Subaru on Rockville Pike. But the first import was actually the Dodge Colt made by Mitsubishi. We added Peugeot and Alfa Romeo later. We were excited to move because all the equipment at the Rockville Pike location was state of the art. But they still only had one restroom for women. Things have changed.”

Thanks to hard work, determination and certainly the loyalty of their customers, Fitzgerald Auto Malls is now 52 years old and has sold hundreds of thousands of new and used cars over the last several decades. “We started as one dealership with one car on the showroom floor, which was also the office and parts department,” remembers Dottie. “We owe it all to our customers and our associates, some who are now third generation.”

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