Kauffman Tire’s CEO Mark Kauffman always knew he would continue his family’s legacy in the tire business. For generations the tire business has been in the Kauffman’s blood, and as a third-generation tire dealer, he continues his family’s legacy.
The Kauffman family has built a tire empire since Harry and Eva Kauffman, Kauffman’s grandparents, opened Kauffman Tire in 1936 in Wooster, Ohio. In 1975, Kauffman’s father John relocated the business to Atlanta, Ga., and the business has since expanded to 57 retail stores in Georgia and Florida and 14 distribution centers.
Kauffman began working for the family business around the age of 12, eventually doing everything from changing oil, changing tires, working in the warehouse and driving delivery trucks. In 1984, Kauffman officially joined the family business.
“Frankly the more I look at it, I just really enjoyed being in the business,” he shares.
A testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of tire dealers, Kauffman Tire’s evolution has made it one of the largest independent tire dealers in the nation, and after 80 years as a leader in the tire business, Kauffman Tire not only remains in family hands, but also continues to lend a hand to communities of Kauffman Tire locations.
For Kauffman, helping people is the best part of the business and why he’s proud to be an independent tire dealer.
“Being able to help customers and make customers happy, I think that’s one of the key things – knowing that you help people out in a difficult situation,” Kauffman says.
No matter the location, Kauffman is always making sure his business provides excellent customer service and is helping the community.
Kauffman Tire has been donating to and coordinating fully equipped training centers for South Atlanta High School. Students interested in working in the automotive service industry can participate in the training program, and then work at a Kauffman Tire location after finishing school. Kauffman also helps support other High School programs in 8 other counties in Georgia.
At the college level, Kauffman offers a six-month program at South Georgia Technical College where students attend college and set up a career with Kauffman upon completion of the program.
“I think those are good things that we’ve put together that help those on an internal basis with our own needs as a company for technicians, and it also helps people out in these schools where they gain some training that they can take and help themselves become more successful and make a good living for themselves,” Kauffman says.
“The program we just set up with Atlanta Public Schools was overwhelmed with the response rate from the kids. It was about 120 applications within a day.”
Kauffman Tire also gives back to the community by partnering with The Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Windship Cancer Institute at Emory, Junior Achievement of Georgia, Habitat for Humanity, Action Ministries and the Midtown Assistance Center.
Kauffman also makes sure to take care of his employees. Through internal training and development programs, Kauffman Tire provides continued learning for existing employees that touch on everything from an employee’s jobs and aspirations, to basic shop skills, sales training, management training and leadership courses.
“We can help people – help the people that work for us provide for their families, also help our customers, help those in need – I feel like you make a difference with people.”