MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — At first glance, one might admire the shiny chrome or the custom paint job, but it’s not the hood ornaments or the bench seats that make a classic car special.
Behind every classic car is a story, and Jeremy Thomas, the founder of Unique Specialty & Classics, Inc., listens.
“Every car has a story and that’s what people really attach to. The cars are more than just a hunk of iron, pieces of rubber, etc. There’s an emotional connection, whether it be a family member that had one or their high school car. Something special always ties people to the car,” Thomas explained.
Jeremy’s own story dates back to 2006.
“We had seven cars on the lot, five of them were mine,” Thomas added.
Thomas has grown the business from those seven cars on the lot to an inventory of more than 200, in addition to moving the company out of its space on South Victory Drive and into a new showroom in the former Lowe’s building on Bassett Drive.
“In my wildest dreams, back then, never did I ever think we’d be able to move into and purchase a 50,000 square-foot facility like this and have all these cars under one roof. It’s mind-blowing. It’s been a long road [to get to this point], but it’s been a long and fun road," Thomas stated. “I took that passion of a hobby and paired up with the business sense, and now we are going into our 14th year and so far, so good.”
Thomas says he is thankful to call Mankato home. From this southern Minnesota town, the company has established an international presence.
“We’ve got a lot of fun clients from Australia, Sweden, Denmark and all over the place.”
Thomas is always in pursuit of another story to tell with each new vehicle the business collects.
“We deal with collections from all over the place. Whether it’s a five-car collection or the biggest collection we ever bought was 220 cars, all from one gentleman who amassed this pile of stuff over the years.”
Thomas surrounds himself with other storytellers.
“I have an incredible team and they are all passionate about it. You have to be to be in this business," Thomas concluded.