Our family started in the farming business in the early 1920’s. In fact, our family farm is located in Wood County near Portage. Ed Schmidt was born on this farm in 1918. As a small boy he learned a hard working farm ethic that later made him successful in business. In the mid 1920’s our family moved to the south end of Toledo. Just prior to the stock market crash of 1929, the family thought the financial institutions too shaky for our family’s money, and wanted to buy real estate. They bought a piece of property on Monroe Street. In that same year, they constructed a small Gulf gas station. That was our start in the car business.
Ed Schmidt, his brother, Carl Schmidt, and their father acquired the Pontiac franchise and opened its door in Pemberville, Ohio in 1937. At that time the car dealership was ran in the local blacksmith’s shop. Our family moved Pontiac from Pemberville to Perrysburg, where it remains today. Chevrolet came into our family in 1939. This was during the Great Depression and new car sales were hard to come by. We quickly learned that providing customers with quality service would bring them back to our Dealership to buy a new or used car. During World War II, the war effort virtually eliminated civilian new vehicle sales as all factory output produced military equipment. At the Dealership, our service operation kept the business rolling until new cars were once again sold in 1946. During the war both Carl and Ed enlisted in the service and fought for our country. When they returned Carl ran the Chevrolet dealership and Ed ran the Pontiac dealership.
The decade of the 1950’s saw Front Pontiac relocate to East Third Street in Perrysburg next to the railroad tracks. We had a one-car showroom, a small parts department and for the times, a larger service department. In 1952 we acquired the GMC truck franchise and trucks were sold with the cars at the Third Street location until the early 1960’s. As our sales of both trucks and cars increased, we outgrew the Dealership on Third Street and moved our truck operation to 1270 Conant Street in Maumee. Pontiacs continued to be sold from the Third Street store until 1964 when Ed Schmidt acquired the building at 125 East Indiana Avenue. Business continued to grow through the late 1960’s and 1970’s. During the late 1970’s we had outgrown our facilities in downtown Perrysburg. By the time construction started at 26875 North Dixie Highway we operated from five different buildings within downtown Perrysburg
Ground was broken in 1977 for the new Dealership in Perrysburg and on January 1, 1978, construction was completed. The facility was designed to handle the increase in sales, parts and service. It also provided quality service invaluable to customers, employees and the general community. During 1986 and 1987 truck sales shifted from large trucks to smaller medium-duty to light-duty trucks. In January of 1988 we responded to the market needs by combining our operations so our customers could shop under one roof.
During the economic growth in the 1990s, our organization responded quickly to meet our customers’ needs with several acquisitions. In 1990, we acquired the Volvo, Saab and Volkswagen franchises and offered sales and service of these programs out of our Perrysburg facility. During 1991 Ed Schmidt merged with Schmidt Leasing, which offers leasing and daily rentals to a variety of different customers including internal operations. Also, in 1991 we saw an opportunity in the heavy truck market. The Truck Store was opened in Maumee, which sells Volvo Heavy Truck, Mitsubishi, GMC Medium Duty and Hummer. We acquired the Jeep franchise in 1993. In 1998 we opened Nationwide Rental Car Sales and sold this operation in 2001. We acquired a small Ford franchise in 2001 and sold it in 2003. In December of 2001 we purchased the Chevrolet franchise located on Reynolds Road and moved Hummer to this location. We added the Hino Truck franchise in 2005.