A self-taught mechanic, Emanuel Gascho left his father’s farm near Baden in 1920 to work at Hambrecht Motors, a Maxwell dealership in downtown Kitchener. Emanuel Gascho and Nels Shantz, another mechanic at Hambrecht’s, formed a garage partnership in 1923 at 16 Young Street, across from the Mayfair Hotel and directly behind what was then called the Windsor Hotel which is now Kitchener City Hall.
If you’ve ever grabbed a coffee at Williams or paid a parking ticket, you’ve stood on the foundations of what has become Gascho Automotive as it exists today.
Back in the 1930’s, when the car was considered more of a luxury than a necessity, many local dealers went broke due to lack of business. Emanuel had a strong entrepreneurial instinct. He went to farmers and sold cars on 90-day promissory notes. He also traded cars for meats and groceries to feed his family.
Emanuel had to overcome another type of challenge in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Many people had never driven cars. After making a sale, Emanuel would have to teach his customers how to drive the vehicle he had just sold them. One could say, that as long as cars have been in Kitchener, we’ve been selling and fixing them.
The Second Generation
Carl Gascho joined his father as an apprentice in 1943 and his brother, Roy Gascho, started as a gasoline pump attendant in 1947. Emanuel Gascho died in 1966 at the age of 74. Both brothers became co-owners of Gascho Motors at this time.
The Gascho brothers attributed their success to personalized service, repeat customers, and teachings from their father on the basics of business, honesty, and integrity. Together, Carl and Roy carried on the family business tradition.
In the 1970’s, the Jeep product line was added and the company continued to grow and prosper. The next years saw tremendous growth and rapid changes. Cars became more complicated, competition was stiffer, the economy had ups and downs, and the Gascho family grew. The next generation of Gaschos became involved in the business in the late 1970s.
Parting Ways with Chrysler
The late 1980s brought the Chrysler Corporation buyout of AMC, Jeep, and Eagle — which meant more growth. This steadily increasing business brought about the proposed new facility of Victoria Street North. Just as all the planning was completed and construction was to start, there was another big change in the automotive world.
Chrysler planned to drop the Eagle nameplate and move Jeeps up into the full-line Chrysler stores. Since Chrysler had no guarantees for their stand-alone Jeep dealers, Carl and Roy Gascho decided it was time to retire and, of course, not build the new facility. Chrysler and the Gascho family mutually agreed to terminate their long association over the coming months.
The Future of Gascho
The end of the relationship with Chrysler left the next generation of Gaschos with career decisions. Dave Gascho saw this as an opportunity, rather than a setback, and rose to the occasion.
With determination and commitment to his family’s future, Dave arranged to buy the facilities at 481 and 505 King Street East back from the investors who had purchased these properties from Carl and Roy Gascho years earlier. Hence, carrying the on the tradition of the name Gascho being synonymous with quality auto sales and service in the community.
Gascho Automotive remained at 481 King St. E. for another 25 years, and in 2016 they reaffirmed the commitment to the community by relocating across town to 353 Manitou Drive. In their new expanded facility Dave Gascho and his team carry on the Gascho family tradition of honesty and integrity. Stop in and say “hi” to see for yourself why Kitchener Waterloo has trusted the Gaschos with their automotive needs for the past 92 years.
Explore our hand-picked inventory of used vehicles today.