Today is November 15th, and that means one thing here in Northern Michigan. No school and opening day of deer season! With the deer on the move from fellow hunters trying to bag a buck, deer-related accidents are bound to happen during this time more than ever.  

If you have the unfortunate encounter of meeting a deer with your vehicle, trust Plowman’s Collision to get the job done. Here is a little bit about this family-owned and operated business that has been passed down from generation to generation.

John Plowman on his 80th birthday!

Back in 1970, John Plowman opened John Plowman’s Collision at the corner of Campbell St. and Washington Ave. in Alpena after years of learning the trade at Chabot Collision. John’s wife, Bonnie, took care of the books while John took care of things in the shop. The couple had four children, and it was their firstborn Steve who chose to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Though he grew up in the industry, Steve officially went to work for his dad through his Alpena High School co-op class in his junior year. Steve married his high school sweetheart, Ruth, in 1981. While raising their own family, they bought the business from John and moved it to 3146 U.S. 23 in Alpena as Plowman’s Collision.

It is at that location where Steve and Ruth’s son Brian began his career in auto body repair. Brian not only learned from his dad and grandfather; he also successfully completed the Automotive Body Program at Alpena Community College.

After years in the shop, Brian began working in the office end of the business knowing that one day he would buy the business from his father, just as Steve bought it from John.

John, who turned 80 in 2019, still works part-time at the shop. Honored to work with Steve and Brian, the icon of the business says he will continue to work until they kick him out. Both Steve and Brian continue to learn from John, with Steve saying, “I’m proud of him. I’m proud he’s my dad. I’ve learned a lot from him.”

We meet by accident” has been the slogan for Plowman’s Collision from the beginning, but it is the workmanship, customer service, and continuing education by those at Plowman’s Collision that has kept them at the forefront of the collision industry in Alpena.

Recently, Plowman’s expanded their offerings by adding car rentals through their South Bay Car Rental business. This is a great option for Alpena visitors in need of transportation as well as those in need of a loaner vehicle during servicing.

You can find Plowman’s Collision at 3146 S. US 23 in Alpena, and online at