Tire Source, a Tire Review 2018 Top Shop Finalist based out of Canton, Ohio, has acquried Defer Tire, an independent tire and automotive service center in Streetsboro, Ohio owned and operated by Mark Defer.
Defer founded the shop that bears his name in 1979 with a small, three-bay facility with two employees. Defer later moved the shop into a 10,000-plus-square-foot home in Streetsboro. Defer was contemplating retirement after almost forty years of ownership and made the needs of his long-time customers and employees top priorities in his exit planning strategy, he said.
“As I pondered plans to retire, I pictured a future for the business which included a continuation of honest, reliable service to our many customers, as well as a place of employment which treated its employees well,” he said. “Multiple generations of local families have been our customers, and I didn’t want to let them down. Some of our valued employees have tenures of over 20 years with us and deserve having their service recognized and respected by new management. With all of that in mind, I wanted to be highly selective in finding a new owner.”
Defer worked with Art Blumenthal LLC to search for small and large Ohio tire shops that would be the right fit. He met Tom White, co-owner of Tire Source, and Defer said: “we seemed to have almost instant business chemistry.” Blumenthal managed the marketing and ultimate sale of the business.
Tire Source, a small, growing chain of independent Goodyear Tire & Automotive Service Centers in the Akron/Canton/Medina, Ohio area, currently has five locations, adding the Streetsboro store as its sixth.
“The acquisition of Defer Tire complements our expansion plans beautifully. Our motto regarding that topic is that we grow where it makes sense to grow,” White said. “Art Blumenthal zeroed in on the possibilities and shared what I came to realize after meeting with Mark Defer and doing financial due diligence of the proposal…that this is a perfect fit for our family of stores demographically and geographically. With 12 bays, it’s a very large outlet with an eye-catching building design of which a business owner can be proud. In addition, we have learned that we want to make the transition of new locations as easily as possible and being matched up with Mark, who is a business owner with all the T’s crossed and I’s dotted, has expedited that process. We will be changing over to be a Goodyear G3X dealer selling Goodyear, Dunlop, and Kelly and also offering Continental, General, and Hercules, with the clear marketing message to our customers that we can get them any brand they want.”
Defer’s actions post-sale demonstrate the sincerity of his wishes. He noted, “As the transition progresses, so far I’ve been at the store on a daily basis and the plan worked out between Tom and myself is to continue doing that in the role of a consultant/ambassador for the foreseeable future…probably for at least a year. It’s ironic that before the sale, I had the strong desire to stop working, but now that I am no longer the owner with the inherent myriad problems and sleepless nights, I feel reinvigorated and thoroughly enjoy working alongside the employees with the store’s customers in a way that I haven’t for a long time. The buck no longer stops here, so I can have a good time.”