Anyone who has ever been to western New York state can tell you that the area is quite proud of its history. Known for welcoming German, Polish, Italian, Irish, and other immigrants, this area of western New York state has families who are deeply rooted in the region. These immigrants and their families quickly gained a reputation of being hard workers willing to build businesses right in the community where they lived. That reputation is one that continues to this day.
An excellent example of this can be seen in Schmidt's Collision and Glass. This local business got its start in 1927 when Alex H. Schmidt, a recent immigrant from Germany, opened up his business on the corner of Broadway and Sherman Street just east of Buffalo, NY. Mr. Schmidt was a diligent worker and together with his wife, he raised two sons: Alex G. Schmidt and Eric Schmidt. Although both of his sons spent time working in their father's automobile shop, it was the oldest son, Alex G., who decided to stay in the family business. He began his career as a painter and along the way learned all about the entire business.
In 1965, Alex G. Schmidt took over for his father and began to expand the business. After first moving the headquarters to downtown Buffalo on Pearl Street, he also opened up a shop in Depew near the intersection of Broadway and Transit Roads. Located in the heart of town, Schmidt's Collision and Glass has many loyal customers and contributes to those famous small-town, old-fashioned values. Building on those values, Alex G. eventually expanded to a site in nearby Hamburg, NY as well as to additional locations in Florida. Schmidt Collision and Glass continue to operate today almost 90 years after it was founded and still has the same excellent reputation it enjoyed all those many years ago.
Do not think that the story of Alex H. Schmidt and his sons is unique to the area. On the contrary, it is simply one example of many such stories. Over and over, immigrants came to this region of western New York and settled in towns such as Depew. They understood that to be successful in the United States, they would not only have to learn a new language but also find a way to earn a living. Settling down in simple, but affordable living quarters, these immigrant men and women went to work, opened new businesses and raised the next crop of first-generation American citizens.
Seeing the value of education, these immigrant families not only sent their children to schools to learn English, but also made sure to teach them everything they could about running the family business. While they knew that not all of their offspring would choose to continue in the same line of work, the lessons learned in the family business would carry them into whatever future endeavor they undertook. The lessons of hard work, honest labor and an entrepreneurial spirit were not lost on their descendants.
The entire region of Depew, New York is filled with the fruits of those lessons. Restaurants, stores, construction companies, automobile mechanics abound as a testimony to the concept of the American Dream and being self-supporting. In order to truly appreciate the impact that history has had on the culture of this region, plan a visit soon and learn about this wonderful and historical neighborhood.