The Midas Story
How the Midas auto repair franchise became an elite automotive brand
In 1931, Nate Sherman, a traveling auto parts salesman from Omaha, met a punch press operator named Joe Marx during a trip to Hartford, WS. Nate was a visionary who realized that all of the new cars that were filling America’s roads would need replacement parts, and he asked Joe if he could manufacture mufflers. They soon set up a factory to do just that.
Nate realized that the mufflers they had developed were superior to any other. He and Joe figured out a way to make them even better by working with the Armour Institute of Technology to develop a coating to make the mufflers rust-resistant and added other design refinements to make their mufflers more durable.
Once perfected, Nate turned his eyes toward the retail market for automotive parts. His idea was bold: He wanted to sell his mufflers through franchised repair shops. It was one of the first attempts to bring franchising to the automotive aftermarket.
Hugh Landrum, who had been buying mufflers from Nate for years, became Franchisee No. 1 in 1956. Within a year, 100 repair shops would join the “Muffler Installation Dealers Associated Service” and MIDAS was born.
Building the brand
National radio advertisements quickly made Midas a household name. A tweak of design also made Midas mufflers instantly recognizable: Brass flakes added to the rust protectant gave Midas mufflers a golden hue.
As car sales continued to rapidly increase throughout the 1960s, Midas kept pace, adding franchises to serve the needs of car and truck owners. Like KFC®*, Subway®*, McDonald’s®* and Burger King®*, all of which also started in the 1950s, Midas became an iconic American brand.
When the Clean Air Act of 1975 forced changes in the way that mufflers were made, resulting in longer-lasting equipment from automakers, Midas diversified its services to include brakes. Brake service soon became big business for the Company. In 1988, Midas added computerized suspension and alignment service to its offerings.
In the early 1990s, Midas took a leap forward for the entire auto industry by developing Standards of Service — a set of guidelines that offer Midas technicians and consumers clear explanations of the difference between a required service and a suggested service. Technicians also began receiving extensive training on how to communicate repair recommendations to customers. The standards have since been copied throughout the auto industry and have helped empower customers to make the best decisions about what to fix and when.
By the end of the 1990s, Midas had evolved again, becoming a destination for total car care. Today, Midas still offers total car care, handling everything from mufflers and brakes to air conditioning and radiator repair, oil changes, transmission fluid exchanges, suspension work, tire repairs and sales, and so much more.
* KFC is a registered trademark of KFC Corporation. Subway is a registered trademark of Doctor’s Associates Inc. McDonald’s is a registered trademark of McDonald’s Corporation. Burger King is a registered trademark of Burger King Corporation.