Robert E. Thompson opened his first used vehicle lot in Beaver Bay, Minnesota in 1957 selling mostly mobile homes and some cars on a part-time basis. But in the spring of 1959 Bob resigned his job in cost accounting at Reserve Mining Company to devote all his time to his new used-car business in his home area of New York Mills, Minnesota.

In search of inventory for his new business, Bob made a visit to the Tri-State Auto Auction in Fargo, North Dakota run by H. A. "Red" Johnson, a pioneer in the automobile auction business.  But Bob's first purchase from Red didn't turn out so well.  The car broke down on the way home.  As he was sitting in the ditch along the road waiting for another driver, he had to laugh.  Although he didn't fare too well with his first auto auction purchase, he knew he had found a business he wanted to be in some day.  In the meantime, Bob Thompson Motor Company grew to be one of the largest used car dealerships in Minnesota, with five locations.

In 1975 Bob got his chance to get into the auction business when Red Johnson offered him an option for 50 percent of his recently opened Minneapolis Auto Auction, Red had a Chrysler factory sale but was having trouble getting a regular consignment sale established, and he thought Bob was the man to help get it going.  Although Bob didn't exercise his option, he did agree to run the auction and in the process gained a great deal of knowledge working with Red Johnson.

Bob's dream of starting an auction of his own in central Minnesota finally came true on August 11, 1983 when he held his first sale at Mid-State Auto Auction.  The first sale ran 34 cars.  After completing college, Bob's son, Rob, joined his father in the auto auction business.   Through the years many changes and additions were made.  After almost 20 years at this site, in 2003 a new four lane auction was built on 68 acres.

In 33 years Mid-State Auto Auction has moved from a 1 lane (outdoor) auction located in a creamery to an ultra modern, four lane facility serving dealers from the United States, Mexico and Canada.  The policy of Mid-State Auto Auction has always been fairness to both buyer and seller and a friendly, courteous staff to welcome each and every dealer.  These, along with today's latest technology has allowed Mid-State Auto Auction to efficiently serve the automotive community now and for years to come.