Art bought a fuel oil route with a loan from a family member and turned the front of Art’s family home into the company’s first office where Art’s wife, Gladys, would take phone calls, manage delivery schedules and keep the books. Ray left the oil route company he was driving for in 1954 and together, Art and Ray became Schmidt Brothers Oil. Not long after, they purchased land in Combined Locks to build bulk tanks that store oil, as well as a corporate office and the company’s first service and gas station.
A few years later, Art and Ray were presented the opportunity to purchase a truck full of Cooper Tires at a great price. With no plan or a place to put them, they took a risk and bought the product, but were forced to store tires in friends’ and family members’ garages. Not long after, they created a tires and parts division, led by Ray, and built a warehouse so they could begin distribution. That business division is known today as U.S. AutoForce and is one of the largest independent tire distributors with 21 warehouses in 18 states.
First terminal is purchased in Wisconsin.
Company is renamed U.S. Oil.
Bulk motor oil begins — now named U.S. Lubricants.
As the business continued to thrive, the brothers looked for ways to give back to the community. Art, Ray and Bill Schmidt founded the U.S. Venture/Schmidt Family Foundation to honor the legacy of altruism and benevolence of their parents, Albert and Margaret Schmidt.
In August, 1986, Bill Schmidt founded the U.S. Venture Open, a golf outing that, since its inception, has raised millions of dollars to help those in need.
Renamed U.S. Venture, Inc.
U.S. Gain Division established with Gain® Clean Fuel brand.
Art, Ray and Bill Schmidt were inducted into the Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame.