A History Of Krietz Auto From Owner Charlie Krietz
The year was 1983, and Kim and I had been married for two years. At the time I was delivering concrete for a company in Rockville, MD, but I had an idea. In my early 20s I had worked and managed several tire shops in Gettysburg, PA, my hometown. Now, I wanted to return to that industry that I had a passion for, so I found the perfect location to start an auto repair business in New Market, MD. Lawson’s AMC was closing and the building was for rent. A lease was signed and Krietz Auto Repair, Inc. was off and running!
Equipment and inventory were needed, but since we just purchased our first home, Kim and I were cash poor. We went to my father-in-law and he co-signed a small loan to help get us started. After that, we bought a couple of lifts and machines, but unfortunately there was very little money left to buy hand tools. Off to Sears we went for a Craftsman tool set! To carry my new set of tools, my wife Kim gave me her toolbox – the same one she used to carry her dental hygiene instruments while at college. I threw a fit and wanted something nicer, but she brought me back down to reality (as she always does). Work hard, save, and in time you will have a nice tool box!
After a year in business, we added a second division to the business, Krietz Auto Sales and little did I know what the future held for our auto sales division. We started very small, with 3-7 cars on the lot and purchased a tow truck as a service vehicle.
After five years in New Market, Mr. Lawson decided to expand his Wheel Horse operation, and we had to make a move. We landed in downtown Frederick at 4th and East Street. This was short lived, as the lot was quickly sold. Krietz Auto was looking for a new home once again. 580 East Church Street became our new location for five years. We also became a U-Haul Dealer, which built our customer basis. U-Haul was very good to our business, and we were named in the Top 100 Dealers in the nation (out of 10,000) for 13 straight months in a row.
After a few years of passing a vacant restaurant (China Pearl) on the corner of 4th and East, we decided to make the owner an offer – she accepted! We were anxious to start the demolition and remodeling process to build the new Krietz Auto just as we envisioned. With blood, sweat and tears we did a lot of the demo work ourselves to save money. We worked with the City of Frederick for our permits to get Krietz Auto moved to North East Street. Our builder worked with us to make our building custom and unique. In the beginning we only had three bays to work out of, but within the next five years we purchased the adjoining partial of land, tore down the existing duplex, and went from three to eight service bays. We also added office space and a new showroom, launching us into Phase 2 of Krietz Auto.
For an independent dealership, we felt we were very unique. After a summer of grand openings, we settled into growing our business. We closed as a U-Haul Dealer, after 14 years of service to the U-Haul name. Kim and I often said that orange blood ran through our veins.
In 2008, we completed Phase 3 of our growth with our newly paved parking lot and in 2012, we added our own detail division. We take great pride in the cleanliness of our cars on the lot.
Krietz Auto Today
The year is now 2017 and Krietz Auto is celebrating our 35th year of business and I am proud of how far we have come over the past several years.
In the last two years, we have grown from a staff of 12 to 40+. We are a family owned and operated independent automotive dealership, and I am pleased to have my two sons working with me each day. Charles III is our General Manager and Cory is our Used Car Manager. Charles, Cory and I also have been doing the buying for our sales division. It’s always an adventure when we are out buying cars! My nephew, Adam, is also working as our Service Manager. Charles' wife Laura is in charge of outside sales and marketing, while Cory's wife Whitney is in charge of Human Resources. My sister Eva also works in the business as our Title Clerk. You might also see a "mini me" my first grandson, Ethan, running around the shop. Ethan is son to Charles and Laura. This March we also welcomed the arrival of Brynlee, daughter of Cory and Whitney. After all the boys, we are excited for a little princess!
I wish to personally thank each of my loyal customers in Frederick, MD and the surrounding local communities. Without your continued patronage and referrals, there would not be a Krietz Auto. My wish for each customer is to "Drive Home Happy!"
My next milestone is 40 years. I will be quite old, but I hope to have even more grandchildren helping me in some way in the business. I have truly surpassed my vision from 35 years ago. It has been many long hours and some sleepless nights, but "Wow! Look at me now!"
We look forward to seeing you again soon at Krietz Auto!