My Dad began his business career at Roth Distributing in Milwaukee as a 20’s something credit manager. Two months into the job Mr. Roth died of a heart attack. The sales manager thought that my Dad had some talent and wanted to know if he was interested in forming a partnership and buying the business. The man’s name was Red Schmalzer. Red and The Big Guy cobbled together $20,000 and purchased the small appliance distributor. They worked it hard over the years and built Roth into one of the best distributors in the country. They expanded the small distributor in Milwaukee that was doing $1 million in sales in the early sixties to one of the largest distributors in the country. In 1976 The Big Guy wanted to start a bicycle company. Red said Yes, and the rest is history. In the early eighties when Trek was losing money there were a number of people who wanted to shut Trek down. The Big Guy would not do it. His biggest supporter...... Red. My father was found of saying without Roth there would be no Trek. Without Red there would be no Trek. Red not only supported the business, but he taught my father the credit manager all about sales and taking care of the customer. Trek’s value of making customers successful can be traced back to Red. Red was not only a great business person he was one of the finest people that I have ever met. He could light up a room like very few could. He could put a smile on anyone’s face.
Yesterday we lost Red at the age of 89. He was an original Trek Guy and he will be missed.