OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE Illinois Automobile Dealers Association

Pub. 10 2020 | Issue 4


Dealer Profile: Jack Schmitt


Jack Schmitt
Jack Schmitt Chevrolet

Jack Schmitt’s father, William Schmitt, was a Chevrolet dealer starting in the 1920s in Troy, Illinois. “I started working at the dealership at age 15. The dealership was also a Standard Oil station, so I greased cars, pumped gas and did whatever was needed. In 1959, after graduating from Illinois College, my brother-in-law and I purchased a Chevrolet Buick Dealership in Nokomis, Illinois. At that time I started getting involved in the community through Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce and our church. Over the years as other opportunities came up, I bought and sold stores.”

Through IADA, Schmitt met Ray Green, who eventually purchased Schmitt’s dealership in Jacksonville, Illinois. Schmitt and his family moved to Belleville. He says, “I became active with IADA while in Jacksonville. Being involved and supporting IADA, NADA and PAC is so important to our business.”

If Schmitt could go back in time, he says, “ I would tell myself to get involved in a 20 Group very early in my career. It is a great way to learn the business from dealers all over the U.S. I wish my father, could come back for a day and see all that has come from what he started and how things have changed in our business.”

Jack Schmitt Chevrolet has been so involved locally, on the state level with IADA and even nationally with NADA (being an NADA PAC member for 30+ years). We asked Schmitt why he thinks being involved is so important. He shared, “When I first started in the business, I had a good relationship with the manufacturers. Things were at a slower pace and it was a partnership between the dealers and the factory. I loved the new model showings and through sales contests met other dealers who turned out to be life-long friends. Now I feel that the manufacturers would get rid of the dealers if they could figure out a way. The manufacturers put so many, often unreasonable, requirements on the dealers, we need IADA and NADA to advocate for us.”

We asked Schmitt what his favorite thing is about being a car dealer. He said, “It has been a great experience and has given me many opportunities, and has been a great investment. I am still in the car business at age 83 because of my family and the many great dedicated employees, some of whom have been with me for a long time. I am lucky to have my daughter Kathy and son John close by (pictured). We have lunch two or three times per week.”

Schmitt’s children, Kathy Federico and John Schmitt,
both like their job working at the family dealerships. He says, “Kathy’s office is only a few feet away from mine, and John is next door at the Cadillac store. I am so fortunate to have my family involved.”

The Illinois Automobile Dealers Association

This story appears in Issue 4 2020 of the Illinois Automobile Dealer News.

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