Connect with us

News

81-Year-Old Tire Dealer Still Expanding Business

(The Times of Northwest Indiana) While 81-year-old Len Hedinger regrets that his Highland Lake Tire store is closing, with five other stores and expansion plans underway it’s far from the end for his career or his business.

Advertisement

"I work six days and week and I plan to keep going," said Hedinger, of Dyer, Ind. "I do administrative work now, but I’ve probably changed 100,000 tires in my life."

Click Here to Read More
Advertisement

As president of Lake Tire Co. Inc., a company he founded 47 years ago, Hedinger learned the retail tire business as a sales manager for a Denver-based tire company.

"I studied the successful dealers across the country and put my business together from the good points I learned from the successful ones," he said.

Like Hedinger, Lake Tire stores’ managers are all senior citizens ranging from 62 to 75 years old.

"They’re all retirees who elected to come back into the work force," Hedinger said. "Many were executive in the careers they left. They’re top-notch and we have a team that’s irreplaceable. The managers are all excellent people," he said.

Advertisement

"They’re knowledgeable, dependable and responsible," Hedinger said. "They’re used to giving good service, not like you get in a lot of retail locations today. Some of them change tires. I have to hold them back. I’ll go into a store and see them working and they say, ‘I like the exercise. Leave me alone.’"

Since opening his first store at 5706 Hohman Ave. in Hammond in 1960, Hedinger added five more stores to the Lake Tire chain: another in Hammond, plus stores in Highland, Lake Station, Michigan City and Portage.

All but the Highland location, which Lake Tire has occupied for more than 20 years, are company owned. The lease on that store has expired and the owner decided to sell the property, Hedinger said.

Advertisement

The building is being demolished and will be replaced by new commercial development, he said.

"We are consolidating our local business," Hedinger said. "It will give us greater cost efficiency resulting in cost saving and lower costs to customers. We expect to expand the retail business to strategic locations in northwest Indiana.”

The company is confident it will keep a good part of the business from the Highland store as customers shift their trade to the other locations and Lake Tires plans more stores.

"We’re looking in the south and to the east toward Valparaiso and west into Illinois," Hedinger said. "The area’s wide open for us." (Tire Review/Akron)

Advertisement
Click to comment

POPULAR POSTS

People

‘Rusty’ Rovere, Owner of Dale’s Tire, Dies at Age 72

AdobeStock Driving Photo 1400 AdobeStock Driving Photo 1400

News

Hankook Survey Shows Drivers Are Hitting the Road Less

Ted Becker Interim TireHub CEO Ted Becker Interim TireHub CEO

News

TireHub CEO Leaves; VP of Sales & Marketing Named Interim CEO

Pirelli-Claudio-Zanardo Pirelli-Claudio-Zanardo

People

Pirelli Tire N.A. Names New CEO

Connect
Tire Review Magazine