The year was 1866. Lucius Reynolds and his brother-in-law, James Gardner, opened a small print shop in Dayton, Ohio.
Within a year, Lucius' father, Ira Reynolds, bought Gardner's interest in the business, and the father and son turned the print shop into a business forms manufacturing company known as Reynolds and Reynolds.
A century and a half later, Reynolds has grown into a dealership software giant that, among other things, is a leading supplier of retail installment sales contracts, consumer lease agreements and other support documents that comply with federal and state laws.
"We believe we've led automotive innovations for decades," said Kasi Edwards, Reynolds vice president of marketing. "Last year we celebrated 150 years of legacy. We continue across all of our businesses to develop product and services that will help dealers become better retailers, improve profitability and improve customer experience."
The privately held company will not disclose how many dealers use its F&I forms and documents.
Reynolds began designing and supplying standardized accounting forms for Chevrolet dealers across the U.S. in 1927. According to Reynolds' history, that contract with Chevrolet was a major step forward in serving the automotive industry, but the company provided dealerships with a variety of forms even before that.
"By designing and printing standardized accounting forms, [General Motors] could analyze all the numbers comparatively across all dealerships selling the Chevrolet brand," a Reynolds spokesman said. "As it turned out, that previous experience with automotive was one of the deciding factors for GM in awarding Reynolds the nationwide Chevrolet business."