Ten years ago, Vicki and Rick Schmidt opened Mooresville Service Center during the economic downturn that was putting others out of business.
“We opened June 18, and the banks were being bailed out by September,” said Rick Schmidt. “It was bad timing, as we had just moved here from Maryland … and were floating ourselves with our savings for awhile.”
He had worked at Ford Motor Co. as a master technician before starting Mooresville Service Center in Ford’s former Broad Street location.
“I grew up working on cars with my dad and as a mechanic, and I knew I could make this work,” Schmidt said.
His wife, Vicki, was in marketing at a law firm, but left to raise their children and do the bookkeeping for the new business.
“At the time, when we found the location downtown, the area was on the brink, and it was either going to do great and flourish or become a ghost town, and we took a chance,” Schmidt said.
Despite the economy, downtown Mooresville became a destination with restaurants and new stores, and the Schmidts said they soon gained a loyal following.
“We still have customers with us that were there since Day 1,” said Vicki. “We support downtown and shop local, and other business owners do the same for us.”
After six years on Broad Street, the potential sale of their leased building sent the couple in search of a new home for their business. They settled on the former Accel Discount Tire at 372 N. Main St.
“It was perfect, because we really wanted to stay downtown, and it doubled the space we had available, so we could grow the business,” said Rick. “It was like a gift.” The move proved to be good for business.
“Because of the extra space, we’ve been able to secure more fleet accounts, which has been helpful, and we can service more vehicles at a time,” said Vicki. “We’ve also added our front office, and we have a more child- and pet-friendly location, so it makes it easier and more comfortable for people to come in and relax while their car gets worked on.”
Rick said he believes that the business and seven employees have survived through tough economic times because “I can’t promise cheap, but I do promise fair.”
As for what the future holds for Mooresville Service Center, Rick brought up his eventual retirement.
“I don’t see you ever walking away,” she said to Rick with a smile.