PIQUA — Vern Quinter, of Vern’s Auto Sales, is celebrating his retirement after 50 years in the automotive industry.
Quinter started his automotive career at Hardenbrook Ford in 1961, working on the mechanical side of the business. After shop hours he also ran the dealerships wrecker service.
With a desire to open a business of his own, Vern’s Auto Sales was established in 1971 with the purchase of his first shop on Water Street in Piqua. Many remember the front garage door open to Water Street with a Doberman Pinscher named J.P. guarding the property. “J,” as everyone knew him, was an icon of the business for many years.
In 1972 Vern purchased The Wayne Hotel, at 115 N. Wayne St. Built in 1875, it was once a thriving Piqua Hotel that catered to train passengers. Over the years, it was known as the Union House, Hotel Piqua and the Stag Hotel before becoming the Wayne Hotel in 1909.
The hotel property, torn down in 1972, was the future site of Vern’s Auto Sales Used Car Lot. Quinter established his lot holding upwards of 20 cars, with a salesman’s office toward the back. Quinter spent a lot of time traveling to Detroit to buy cars for his lot hauling them back on the car hauler.
Quinter continued the wrecker business with trucks on the road 24 hours a day for many years. He had one of the largest rigs for miles around.
Expansion came as a booming business led to the purchase of Hardenbrook Ford’s body shop in early 1980s on Spring Street, coming back to where it all began in the ’60s, a lifetime of business all in the same block. As times changed so did the equipment. Each truck had a name and many stories.
Vern’s Trucking Company also was established shortly after moving into the larger building. His fleet of trucks hauled loads to many states. Quinter did all his own maintenance of the trucks and trailers and enjoyed traveling himself seeing all the facilities they delivered to.
After 50 years in business, Quinter had many employees and made lots of good friendships throughout the journey. Quinter’s was the shop where many passed threw in a day just to chat, get his advice on a repair, borrow a tool and find out the local news of the day and solve the problems of the world.
Well wishes for retirement can be sent to Vern’s Auto Sales, at 222 Spring St., Piqua, OH 45356.