Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Family Mystery


I noticed recently that the Tire Kingdom store on East Colonial Street in Orlando was vacant, one of many empty commercial properties found in Central Florida these days. This particular building is of interest to me because it was built by my in-laws in the late sixties to house their business, Schmidt Motor Sales. In fact you can still see the hexagonal shapes where the seven letters of "SCHMIDT" were placed under the roof's support beams.

I'm told at one time they utilized buildings on three of the four corners of this intersection: one building housed automobile sales, (British imports Morris, MG, Austin and Austin-Healy), the building in the photograph housed motorcycle sales, (BMW and Triumph), and one other building was for service or parts. I also know that this location on Colonial was preceded by several others including a structure the Schmidts built on Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park across from where PR's Mexican Restaurant is today. And I know that the in the early days of the business they sold Indian Motorcycles, and I have great images of my wife's grandfather in front of his shop with the wonderful Indian script logo on the front. But I know very little else.



When I ask for more information, my Mother-in-Law defers me to her brother who ran the business after her father. Her brother doesn't want to talk about the business because it brings up painful memories and I want to be respectful and accommodate his wish to leave it alone. But I really want to know more about their family business and its place in Central Florida History. Stay tuned...

5 comments:

  1. Great family pics. Very cool. That looks like an awesome location for a business.

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  2. I worked in the Schmidt Motorcycles shop on Fairbanks '66 - '67. Ran by Gene Schmidt, his mother did the books. Before Fairbanks the shop was located on SOBT, when I moved to Orlando in '63. Gene had a son, kind of a wild kid, that work in the shop also, and several other kids. Gene lived east of town, out where UCF is now. I did some chores for him out there. Great memories

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  3. Gene Schmidts boy was named Jimmy

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  4. Hi, I was wondering if you may have found out more on the dealership your family had. I recently purchased a 1967 Morris Minor that your family's dealership used as a parts runner. I have the dealer plate on it, as well as the name of a parts driver on the door. I would love to speak to you if possible. I realize this post is 9 years old and reaching you is a long shot, however I own my own classic car business in Maine and we always try to find out the history of our cars as much as possible so we can add them into our story descriptions. If you can talk please reach out to experiencedrivemaine@gmail.com thank you for your time. -Steven

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