About Auto Safety Center West Bend WI
Auto Safety Center's reputation is build upon what we “do” - not what we “claim” to do. We take a professional approach towards our work and a personal responsibility for our customer's satisfaction. Our business is auto repairs, but our focus is the people we serve. We understand the meaning of “service” and are committed to developing long customer relationships. 45+ years of success is a testament of how we treat our customers at Auto Safety Center.
Front view of Auto Safety Center auto repair shop in West Bend WI
We believe our role is to inspect, estimate, consult, and repair your vehicle based on honesty and integrity. The key element is consultation. We provide information to assist you in making decisions; a professional assessment and clearly explained options that fit your needs... and your budget.
Four Decades of Success
Original Auto Safety Center shop on North Main Street West Bend WI
From Left to Right, Roger Berth, Ralph Schimdt and Joe Valind Past and present proprietors of Auto Safety Center in West Bend, WI
Ralph Schmidt (Proprietor 1965-1983)
The doors of Schmidt's Safety Center opened September 1965 at 444 N. Main St West Bend Wisconsin. The location had been a gas and service station since the 1930's and seen several businesses come and go before Ralph took over.
Ralph never attended formal training but gained his mechanical expertise from working on the family farm and several repair shops throughout Wisconsin. Schmidt's Safety Center specialized in tires, wheel alignments, brake and suspension service. Ralph also installed tires for many local retail stores such as Western Auto, Gamble, Sears, and Fleet & Farm. These tire installations often lead to other repairs and many loyal customers.
Ralph started his business solely by word of mouth advertising and built it with quality work, honesty, and integrity. To this very day we still service and repair vehicles for customers who started coming when Ralph ran the shop.
Roger Berth (Proprietor 1984-2005)
December 5th 1983 was a day life would change for Roger in more ways than one. Not only was it the day his daughter was born, it was the day he and Ralph agreed on the sale of Schmidt's Safety Center. Roger remembers negotiating with Ralph on the phone from the hospital, while his wife, Linda was beginning labor. Linda had recently quit her job to stay home with the kids, Roger was between jobs, and baby #2 was on the way! In hindsight the timing could not have been better.
Roger got his start at Lang's Trailer Rental in Milwaukee, servicing and repairing their fleet of 120 trailers. He also installed trailer hitches and electrical harnesses (which is something we still do at Auto Safety Center). He recalls at that time many hitches would just mount to the bumper of a vehicle, and could be installed in a matter of minutes. Very different than today’s vehicles!
In 1969 Roger took a job at the full service Mobile Gas Station on 124th and North Ave, also in Milwaukee. It was there that he developed his automotive repair skills. The owner of the service station would send his mechanics to every training class he could. Roger benefited from not only the training, but the high volume of vehicles they would service in a typical day. The experience also gave him skills he needed to run his own business.
Roger officially completed the deal with Ralph on January 27th 1984. He immediately changed the name to Auto Safety Center to gain a better position in the phone book as well as bring a better understanding of the type of service he did. Ralph took out a full page advertisement in the local paper to thank his customers and show support for Roger.
Roger made many physical improvements to the shop over the years, but one thing he had no problem keeping was the reputation for honest and quality workmanship. His philosophy was “honesty is the best policy” and to do only what he would want if the customer's vehicle was his own. These core values helped Auto Safety Center to prosper and carry on the values established by Ralph.
Joe Valind (Proprietor 2005-Present)
As a high school senior Joe got his first automotive mechanic job in September 1995 through his high school co-op program. As the Lord’s providence would have it, the placement was with Roger Berth at the Auto Safety Center. In January 1996 Joe graduated from West Bend East High School and began working full time at Auto Safety Center.
Roger was a great mentor and Joe learned a great deal during his time there. Joe quickly recognized his obsession with cars and a personal goal to own his own shop. He attended Moraine Park Technical College of Fond du Lac and received a degree in Automotive Technologies. At the time Auto Safety Center did not do all aspects of auto repair so Joe moved to another shop to broaden his repair skills.
After a few years of gaining experience Joe decided the time was right to own his own business. He pursued purchasing a shop in West Bend but the deal fell through after several months of negotiations. The shop Joe was working at was closing and his hope of purchasing a shop was put on hold as he focused on finding a job.
Joe heard Roger at Auto Safety Center was looking for help and dropped in to see if the job was available. They hit off just like before and 15 minutes into their conversation Roger asked “Have you ever thought of going into business for yourself?” Joe replied “Funny you should ask”. It took another year and half to finalize the transaction but in May 2005 Joe and Jessica became the next proprietors of the Auto Safety Center.
The common characteristic throughout all the years and changes of ownership has been a commitment to customer satisfaction. From Ralph, then Roger, and now Joe the values of quality work, honesty, and integrity have remained unchanged.
Interview by Remarkable Results Radio. Listen it here: RR 067: Joe Valind from Auto Safety Center
DAILY NEWS - Washington County’s Daily Newspaper article about us (PDF) here: "Constant Growth Key to Auto Safety Center’s Success"