That jolt you feel when the roller coaster car is peaking over the first big drop isn’t the only side effect of adrenaline. Same Day Tire and Auto Repair Tire Pros owner Daniel “Danny” Smith let his adrenaline-filled love of racing drive him right into the tire industry.
“[Racing] is what I do for fun – I’m just an adrenaline junkie,” Smith says. “Like when you ride a rollercoaster for the adrenaline, that’s why I race, but the roller coaster wasn’t big enough.”
Smith started drag racing at a young age and later moved on to sprint cars and dirt cars. He spent seven years on the road racing competitively, but now keeps it to a three- or four-state area.
“We have a big operation,” says Smith. “It’s me and my youngest son. He started racing four years ago, and we’ve won a lot of races. I’ve been racing a long time. We build all our own chassis in house and we have a whole separate organization going.”
From the racing world, Smith entered a career as a car dealership mechanic before he left to create what he thought a repair business should be. That original business, founded in 1996 as an auto-repair shop in Tulsa, Okla., has now grown to a five-location tire dealership with a sixth location soon to launch. Five short years ago, Same Day Tire and Auto Repair started selling tires, and last year, the dealership joined Tire Pros.
“We could see the trend starting to change,” Smith says. “We were losing our customers once a year to go buy tires somewhere else, so we go ahead and take on the tire (business). We were buying local at wholesale places and we weren’t competitive. We sold tires as a convenience to our customer…and the more we’ve been at it, the more we realize we need to get competitive.”
Adding tires to the mix was a game-changer for Smith, who saw a drastic increase in sales. In fact, Smith says he expects his new location will double his sales in tires alone.
Like his racing hobby, Smith’s business is unique. His fun-filled approach to running his tire dealership is probably why 28 of his 39 employees have been with the business for more than 10 years. Technicians are off work at 5 p.m., but you’ll still find many of them hanging around the shop after their shifts, spending time together.
Rewarding and appreciating his team may be one of the reasons his employees to want to be at work past hours. He’s rewarded them with things like a trip to Cozumel and even skydiving – quite the adrenaline-pumping team building! Not to mention employees are offered a $5,000 cash bonus or an addition week of paid vacation after 10 years of service.
And while Smith’s duties have shifted to managing the real estate of multiple locations and marketing, Smith always makes sure to go back to his mechanic roots.
“Six weeks out of the year I work on cars and fill in for guys when they go on vacation. I can still do any job. Nobody can B.S. me, and I can also talk like I know about it,” he laughs. “It keeps me up on all the newest, latest stuff.”
Today Smith uses his passion for racing to help his community. His long list of list of community service endeavors includes sprint car races to benefit charity. Now in its third year, Same Day Tire and Auto hosts two races, a day race benefiting Allies for Independence and a night race benefitting Make a Wish.
Though fun loving and generous, Smith takes his responsibility as a business owner seriously.
“It’s not just about me,” says Smith. “It’s about supporting well over 100 people – wives, kids, significant others. I have to do everything I can to make sure we stay open and I don’t take that lightly.”