Terry Schmidt, a 52-year-old Austin native, has returned to his home town after living in the Twin Cities, MN, area for a number of years working with a family business. He’s the new owner of Viking Auto Glass & Bumper, which was owned and operated by his cousin Fred Schmidt for more than 30 years.
Schmidt’s family owns various businesses throughout town, as his father ran the Theissen Signs shop for many years. Terry worked for his father for two years, in 1992 and 1993, and also ran his own neon sign company. Yet, he spent most of his time as a welder-turned-salesman in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
He didn’t think he would come back to Austin after living in the Cities for so long, but a phone call from Fred earlier this year caused him to reconsider. Fred was considering retirement and asked if Terry would take over the auto glass repair and auto supply business, “to keep it in the family.” He officially took over the business in June.
A Normandale Communitiy College graduate in business management, Terry said he’s well-acquainted with the business and hopes to expand Viking’s customer base. He employs two part-time glass repair technicians at the moment, but he hopes to hire one or two more employees within a year. In addition, he plans to expand his auto shop supply inventory — he carries paints, sanding supplies, thinners, fillers, and putties, among other things — and expand his sales routes to auto repair shops in southeastern Minnesota and northern Iowa.