The very first thing Ari Thielman did in the tire industry was clean a bathroom.
The summer of eighth grade, his father woke him at dawn to go to work. It was a rude awakening in more than one way. Not only was he up with first light, but there was a public restroom waiting for him when he arrived at his father’s shop.
“I never worked a day in my life (before that day); I only went down to the shop when my father forgot something or to visit him.”
From then on, Ari was in the shop during summer vacation and after school. He took cleaning the bathroom in stride and also picked up on many of the skills that it takes to run a successful tire business.
Still pursuing his education as a business management major at Central Connecticut State University, Ari plans to continue with an MBA program.
That combination of experience and education serve him well, as does the pedigree of having a mentor that has been in the industry his whole life – his father.
“He started his career in 1965 working for Firestone as a store manager. He climbed the management ladder and eventually became a district manager. However, he was tired of traveling and being away from his family, so he decided to open his own business in 1978.”
Ari credits his father with giving him the piece of advice that most drives his professional career. “Treat every customer like family, and you will be treated the same back.” His father has driven his expectation that a tire dealer should do whatever it takes to serve the customer, whether that means paying a little bit extra to have a product shipped overnight or keeping the doors of the shop open late so that a family on vacation can get home.
Though he sees competition becoming stiff from consolidation and online retailers, Ari feels at home in the industry where he cut his teeth.
“I like that every day brings a new challenge into the industry.”
Fun Fact: If Ari wasn’t in the tire business, he’d be in construction or landscaping. “I have always enjoyed working with my hands and construction equipment.”