Charlie Schmidt describes Galloway Township Mayor Don Purdy as a “real good guy,” despite the good-natured ribbing. After all, it was Schmidt who gave Purdy his first real opportunity in the profession, and has followed his career since the two worked together at Bennett Chevrolet.
That included a visit with his fiancée Gail Asher to Purdy Automotive on the White Horse Pike near Sixth Avenue for its grand opening on Saturday morning, Jan. 12. The business cost $2.1 million to open, and is Purdy’s third business. Purdy opened Purdy Collision in Galloway Township in 2007. He’s had his tow business since 1997.
All three are based out of Galloway Township.
“I like being here,” Purdy said. “I have a real passion for the township. It’s nice knowing your customers.”
Purdy had to start somewhere.
“I had a 1970 Chevelle when I was 16. I took it out after school. I was messing around and I hit a tree,” Purdy said. “My dad had just bought me a car cover, so I put the cover over it.”
Purdy didn’t want his dad to know what happened. He worked as a mechanic at Sears, and his co-workers directed him to Schmidt.
“He said I can help you out,” Purdy said. “I was supposed to get my license in nine months. He kept the car for nine months. He fixed it and didn’t tell me, and when I got my license, he gave me the car back.”
He also got Purdy a job at Bennett Chevrolet in Egg Harbor Township. More importantly, he taught him everything he knew.
“I didn’t go to schools. I just worked with Charlie and he taught me everything,” Purdy said.
“He’s a real good guy and a lot of fun to work with,” Schmidt said. “I used to harass him about being a mechanic. It was fun.”
Schmidt praised Purdy’s ability to pick up on what he was teaching him, as the two relayed a story about Purdy calling Schmidt on the phone when he had a problem with a car, and Schmidt walking him through each step needed to make the repairs.
“And if I didn’t know what he was saying, I would hop in my car and go over there,” Purdy said.
Schmidt has since retired. He turned 80 in October. Purdy opened a body shop, and has been working on opening his automotive center for 14 months.
In addition to general automotive work, including oil changes, tire rotations, brake inspections, wheel balancing and alignment, among other services, Purdy Automotive will serve as a Good Year Tire store and deal in after market accessories.
Purdy’s garage will have the capacity to work on 16 vehicles at once. The second story of the building is where Purdy’s staff will work on municipal vehicles, and will be home to Purdy’s office.
The building occupies a total of 16,200 square feet.
Purdy Automotive will be open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Purdy Collision is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Purdy offers 24-hour towing.
Purdy may have other projects on his mind in the future, but first he wants to see how his newest business venture works out.
As long as his mentor is around, he won’t be the only one paying attention.