‘Soccer mom cruise-in’ idea becomes reality

Erich Schmidt (L) and his wife Lauralee work together at their business, Schmidt Auto Care. Lauralee had an idea to honor moms this year during their first annual "Mom's Cruise In" on May 1. CONTRIBUTED
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Erich Schmidt (L) and his wife Lauralee work together at their business, Schmidt Auto Care. Lauralee had an idea to honor moms this year during their first annual "Mom's Cruise In" on May 1. CONTRIBUTED

Schmidt Auto Care to host event for moms, women

Female car ownership continues to rise in the US and in 2020, nearly 35% of owners were women. But women have also traditionally been more likely to be uninformed about the cost of car repairs and studies have shown they are often quoted higher prices for services than men.

Lauralee Schmidt is hoping to change this. Schmidt of Waynesville, said she never thought she’d live in Ohio, much less work for an auto shop. After graduating from the University of Kentucky with a degree in theater, Schmidt moved to New York City where she built a career in cosmetics education.

“I accepted a job in 2010 in Ohio,” Schmidt said. “I kept my New York apartment but never went back.”

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Schmidt met her husband Erich and the two got married in 2014. Though her husband is the owner of Schmidt Auto Care in Springboro, Schmidt said she had “zero Interest” in the automotive field. But her cosmetics job had her traveling away from home most of the time. And though they hadn’t planned to have a family, Schmidt ended up getting pregnant with her now 5-year-old daughter Emma, and that changed everything.

“Erich and I talked, and he said he didn’t think I could have a job like mine and be a mom too since I was never home,” Schmidt said. “He asked me if I could take my skills and see if I could put them to work in the shop.”

Erich Schmidt has owned Schmidt Auto Care since 2009. This year the shop is hosting their first annual free Mom's Cruise In on May 1, an event devoted to women. CONTRIBUTED
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Erich Schmidt has owned Schmidt Auto Care since 2009. This year the shop is hosting their first annual free Mom's Cruise In on May 1, an event devoted to women. CONTRIBUTED

And that’s exactly what Schmidt did. She started looking at the processes and what the business needed and created a marketing plan. She also worked on building up the social media business accounts.

“I realized I wasn’t really a makeup artist,” Schmidt said. “I was a businesswoman.”

Now vice president of marketing and operations at Schmidt Auto Care, Schmidt said she immediately discovered the need to educate women about caring for the cars and keeping them maintained.

“I have always been passionate about educating women,” Schmidt said. “We started offering classes during career days at schools and teaching new woman drivers to be safe on the road and know your car.”

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Devoted to community involvement, Schmidt also heads up a women in business marketing meeting in Springboro and it was during one of those meetings that a member suggested she put together a “cruise-in” event devoted to women and moms.

“She suggested a ‘soccer mom cruise-in,’” Schmidt said. “I think she was only half serious, but it resonated with me.”

Schmidt returned to the shop and called a manager meeting, but when she mentioned the idea of a women-centric cruise in event, most of the team members said they didn’t think it would work. But Schmidt persisted, reminding them how many female customers come into the shop regularly.

With just a few short months to plan a Mother’s Day time frame event, Schmidt quickly put her plan into action, reaching out to community businesses for support and planning an event that would not only honor moms, but all women. Schmidt Auto Care’s first annual “Mom Cruise In” is scheduled for May 1 from noon to 3 p.m.

All moms (and those who love them) are invited to Schmidt Auto Care's first annual Mom's Cruise In on May 1. The free event will honor moms and women and thank their customers.
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All moms (and those who love them) are invited to Schmidt Auto Care's first annual Mom's Cruise In on May 1. The free event will honor moms and women and thank their customers.

“It just made sense that we do something really grand for moms who have always been such terrific customers of ours,” Schmidt said.

The free event will include raffles throughout the day featuring items donated by local businesses, food and beverages, including a special “Mom-mosa” mocktail. There will also be live entertainment and the shop’s technicians will be on hand to answer any questions.

“It’s a time to just lift the tail gate and talk to other moms,” Schmidt said. “We just want to pamper them!”

Now that live events are slowly returning, Schmidt said that people just need to relax and have some fun and that was the driving idea behind the event. The shop plans to host this event annually and there has already been an outpouring of support from the community.

Mike Wherry is the service specialist at Schmidt Auto Care. He helps women in particular to understand their cars and maintenance. CONTRIBUTED
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Mike Wherry is the service specialist at Schmidt Auto Care. He helps women in particular to understand their cars and maintenance. CONTRIBUTED

“We are really blessed to have strong relationships here in the local community,” Schmidt said. “We want people to know they can come in anytime and introduce themselves, but this event is also a great time to meet Erich and Mike Wherry, our service specialist. Mike doesn’t make anything complicated, and I think this industry is missing that. If it’s not fixable or the repair can wait, he will tell you. We aren’t here to gouge people. We just want to help.”

For more information, log on to schmidtautocare.com

Contact this contributing writer at banspach@ymail.com.

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