Large Company Category
SCHARMACH ENTERPRISES. CEO Manfred Scharmach, center, with, from right, founder Werner Scharmach, Madeleine McEntyre, Lori Scharmach 
and Northwest Mini/Seattle Mini sales director Richard Stone. Photo Credit: Hayley Young

Scharmach Enterprises noted its 50th anniversary this year. Founder Werner Scharmach built the business after coming to the United States from Germany in 1956 to work as a car mechanic. Today, the enterprise has its largest operations in the Tacoma suburb of Fife along Interstate 5: BMW Northwest, Northwest Preowned Center and Northwest Mini. It also owns the Seattle Mini dealership on Lake City Way.

Werner Scharmach was operating an Olympia car repair shop when a BMW importer from New York approached him about opening BMW's first dealership in Western Washington. The dealership began in Olympia in 1968 before moving to Fife in 1979. Some years later, the company expanded to include the Northwest Preowned Center next door. It added Northwest Mini in 2003 and Seattle Mini in 2009. The business employs 240, and in 2017 BMW Northwest's staff received BMW Center of Excellence recognition.

Werner's son, Manfred, bought the business in 2002 and Manfred's daughter, Maddie, works there as well. She was instrumental in launching its business development center, where new employees learn about the company and the industry, customer service and communication skills.

Next on the agenda: Manfred Scharmach plans to add a certified collision repair shop. Meanwhile, Werner still enjoys visiting the dealerships on occasion. He and his son talk about larger strategies. "I use him as a sounding board," Manfred says.

This article appears in print in the December 2018 issue of Seattle Business Magazine.

Northwest MINI opened in 2002 and is part of the Scharmach Enterprises' family. 

This store became the first standalone MINI dealership in the nation, supporting this exciting brand from the very beginning.  Since then, NW MINI have become experts in customer service, while developing a very loyal MINI community  - some MINI owners are on their 8th MINI along with multi-generation MINI families.  Like all our enterprises, NW MINI looks for ways to give back to their local community -   events, blood drives and especially donations towards veterans affairs.