Douglas Anthony Blackman, founder of Atlantic Tire & Service in Cary and a past Tire Industry Association (TIA) Board member, died Sept. 15. He was 69. Known by “Anthony,” his middle name, Blackman grew up in Sanford, N.C., attended North Carolina State University and after graduation entered the Goodyear Retail Training for Management program. He spent 10 years working in both Goodyear and B.F. Goodrich tire stores in the state.
Blackman’s Atlantic Tire & Service was a two-time winner of Tire Review’s Top Shop Award, taking home the honor in 2008 and again in 2015. As Tire Review learned, Blackman was dedicated to his craft from a young age, working at his uncle’s small two-bay Gulf gas station in his hometown of Vass, NC. “This is where the dream began,” Blackman told Tire Review about the humble station.
While living in Greensboro, N.C., Blackman met and married “the love of his life” Beth. Together they moved to Raleigh, N.C., and in 1989, Blackman, along with a partner, founded Atlantic Avenue Tire & Service. Blackman cashed in his $20,000 401K to start the business. Ten years later, Blackman went out on his own, founding Atlantic Tire & Service in Cary, growing that business to five locations in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina.
Blackman told Tire Review he thought of his employees as family and wanted them to succeed in business and life. He was incredibly generous, supporting dozens of local charities and organizations. Blackman believed strongly in giving back, donating over 11% of Atlantic Tire’s sales in some cases – over $900,000 a year – to community causes. He supported many local charities and organizations, including The Salvation Army, Children’s Home Society, The Carying Place, The Miracle League, The MacGregor Rotary Club, The Atlantic Tire Tennis Championship, The Cary Chamber of Commerce and numerous charitable golf tournaments.
He also donated his time to the tire industry community, serving two terms on the TIA Board of Directors from 2013 to 2019.
Blackman received numerous local and national awards. Aside from being a two-time winner, in 2008 and 2015, of Tire Review magazine’s Top Shop Award, Blackman received, along with his wife, Beth, the Tire Business Tire Dealer Humanitarian Award in 2016 and earned TIA’s Ed Wagner Leadership Award in 2017.
He told Tire Review, “I never thought about failure. It just wasn’t an option. I had nothing to fall back on. Growing up with nothing makes you want to win.”
His many local honors include Cary Citizen of the Year, the city’s Hometown Spirit Award and in 2021 the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, which is presented by the governor of North Carolina to persons who have made significant contributions to the state and their communities through their exemplary service and exceptional accomplishments.
Blackman is survived by his wife, Beth; son Cameron Anthony Blackman (Elizabeth); brother Mike Blackman (Joy); sisters Susan Blackman Mathews (Tim) and Cindy Blackman Biggers (Howard); two grandchildren, Hudson Paul Blackman and Harper Thomas Blackman; father and mother in-law Tom and Lindy Hutchison; brother and sister in-law Tom and Tami Hutchison; and many nieces and nephews.