Classmates, best friends and business partners. That describes Drew Dawson and Tom White who started as friends and have been business partners for over 20 years and have watched thier Tire Source business grow.
Classmates, best friends and business partners. That describes Drew Dawson and Tom White who started as friends and have been business partners for over 20 years.
They have grown their tire and auto repair service company to more than five locations including the Tire Source on Everhard Road in Jackson Township. The two started with one location in Medina and over the past two decades have opened more stores, including three in Stark County and one in Summit.
Both went to school together and graduated from Copley High School in 1981. They both went on to earn bachelor degrees in business and both eventually went to work for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in Akron.
“In 1991 we got together and decided to buy a tire store selling Goodyear products and we became an independent dealer for Goodyear,” Dawson said.
“A few years after opening the store in Medina, we knew we wanted to expand and we bought the store on Route 800 in South Canton,” White said.
Today, on average, between the five locations, the company serves 130 customers a day or 39,000 customers a year.
Both partners have a clear picture of what sets their company apart from others.
“Taking care of customers is the easy part and we do that very well,” Dawson said. “What's key to success is finding the best people and getting them trained to take care of the customers. All of our employees are knowledgeable, well-trained, professional, respectful and well-groomed.”
There are 55 fulltime and part-time people working for the company including ASE Certified technicians, general maintenance and general service technicians, general and service managers, assistant managers, sales, and a general manager. Patrick Stulhdreher from Jackson Township is the general manager who runs the day-to-day business for all five stores.
The company has a new logo and started a new branding campaign last fall. Dawson said their old logo only portrayed the tire side of the business. The new branding illustrates the auto service and the tire sides of the business.
“We sell all the major brands of tires at all locations including the Belden Village store but we also do auto repair, service and maintenance,” Dawson siad. “Our business is 70 percent auto repair and 30 percent tires.”
In addition to Goodyear tires, just a few of the other tire brands the company offers include Michelin, Bridgestone, Falken, Firestone, BF Goodrich and Hankook. The Tire Source does all of the balancing and mounting for tires as well as brakes, shocks, suspension, and bigger service jobs such as transmission repair among other services for all make and models of cars and light trucks.
The Belden Village store is the second busiest of the five locations. Both partners are excited to be in Stark County.
Page 2 of 2 - “We are proud to represent Goodyear and proud to have such a large presence in Stark County,” Dawson said. “We belong to the Jackson Belden, Canton Regional and the North Canton Chambers.”
White said it's important to select an auto repair or tire shop built on trust and confidence. He offers a warning about buying tires off of the Internet.
“There are a lot of factors involved when buying tires online,” White said. “They still have to be balanced and mounted and you are buying from a faceless entity. Plus, we are competitive with online prices when you add in the shipping and other costs involved with buying online.”
How has operating a successful business been on the friendship over the years? Both say they are more like brothers with similar families. They are both middle children with an older and a younger sister. They both live in Copley with their families. Both played sports in high school and both still have a competitive attitude towards life and their business.
“We still have a passion for the business and want our business to be considered the best in automotive repair out there,” White said. “And, we want our teams of employees to perform better than any other similar company every day.”
White is getting his family involved with the business. His oldest son is attending the University of Akron for accounting and has been helping over the summers at Tire Source. White said his son started out changing tires and oil and has been doings sales and has helped with the accounting.
The company offers the latest and most advanced automotive repair equipment, parts with nationwide warranties, customer and vehicle pickup and delivery and clean and well organized facilities.
“We operate from a servant leadership perspective and are always trying to help our customers and our employees,” Dawson said. “We want our people to build relationships with our customers so that they will continue to consider a good resource for any auto repair they may need.”