When long-time Trail Tire employee Barb Schmidt was first hired as office manager in 2000, it was a part-time position, but since she was looking for full-time hours, owner Robert Vanderhorst did what he could to give her those extra hours.
“I worked on the counter selling tires at the beginning to make it a full time position, but when Robert purchased Trail Tire Vernon Commercial with a partner in 2004, my counter life came to an end.
“And thank goodness, because tires, wheels and accessories have progressed through the years, and it takes a lot to master putting together the right package for a customer – I’m much better at paperwork!”
Schmidt got into the auto industry early, with her first part-time job at 16 at a car dealership, then when she finished school she took an accounting based college administration course, and from there she continued working in the industry.
When asked if she has a cool classic car, Schmidt laughs.
“Apparently we have. My husband adores his 1982 Jeep Scrambler and will talk your ear off about how rare it is and all that he’s done to it. At first I wondered what the heck he was doing buying this? But I must say I have grown to love it.”
In her spare time she and Kevin, her husband of 37 years, like to go fishing, and she also loves to spend time in her flower and vegetable garden.
“I would be remiss not to mention my pet chickens! I have four lovely females that give me great pleasure when we’re out in the yard. They greet me at the gate when I come home and try their best to help me garden too,” Schmidt says.
In their younger years the Schmidts were very volunteer driven, and were members of the Armstrong Kin for over ten years. Barb has also been a member of Girl Guides for 23 years, and still can’t say ‘no’ to lending a hand. “I’m having trouble earning my NO badge!” Schmidt says.
Of her 22 years at Trail Tire – the store is approaching it’s 55th anniversary next year! – and her accomplishments during that time, Schmidt speaks first of her family.
“I’ve been married to my best friend for 37 years and have one lovely daughter named Dayle who’s 27, and a son-in-law in the works.”
And of the people she works with? “Trail Tire is like a family, and the owners are so flexible with hours. Family is important to them, and I could always participate in any of our daughter’s events. They know my passion for volunteering and give me free rein to adjust my work schedule. When I received the 2018 Armstrong Citizen of the Year I made sure to mention that it couldn’t have been accomplished with out their support,” Schmidt says.
“If you can believe it, there are people that have been working here longer than me! My co-workers are a great bunch, and they make coming to work a joy, but don’t tell them I said that!”
Visit their website to learn more about Vernon’s Trail Tire, to find new tires or to book your appointment, and stay up to date on Facebook and Instagram.
As the team at Vernon’s Trail Tire approaches their 55th anniversary, this feature series highlights the many longstanding local team members. Watch for a new story each week!