When Philip Biscan started out as an auto mechanic 15 years ago, he didn’t necessarily have his eyes set on owning a tire business. But after working a short stint for a tire shop and owning his own dent repair business for 12 years, Philip seized the opportunity three years ago to take over a business from an old family friend.
That business was known as Alliance Discount Tire in Alliance, Ohio, which was owned by Kirk Wineman, the family friend of the Biscans. When Philip lost his job as an auto mechanic and was newly married, his wife sat down with Kirk, her good friend, and explained how her husband needed a job. Kirk then called Philip, offered him a part-time job, and the two became close friends after just six months of Philip working there.
Soon after, Philip left to run the dent repair business, which he did for 12 years. But after suffering from shoulder issues, Philip realized he needed a career change. After working for Kirk, he thought he just might enjoy running a tire shop of his own.
“I worked at a tire store before,” he says. “I thought it would be kind of neat to own and operate one.”
He considered leasing a two-bay tire store from someone he knew in the business, but the opportunity didn’t pan out. Around the same time, his buddy, Kirk, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and was pleased to hear of Philip’s interest in owning a tire shop.
“Out of the blue, I got a text message from Kirk that just said, ‘hey, have you ever thought about owning a tire store?’” Philip explains, adding that the pair talked through him taking over the business and what that would look like for about 18 months.
“Kirk ended up passing away before we could finalize everything, so I had to jump in and run the business,” Philip says, adding that Kirk’s son, Dakota, helped him understand the tire side of the business.
The Birth and Growth of Van’s Tire Pros of Alliance
Alliance Discount Tire today is known as Van’s Tire Pros of Alliance. Philip says while his shop is not affiliated with the Van’s Tire Pros shops in the Akron area, he was given permission to use the name from the owners of Van’s Tire. He went with this name because it’s well-known in the Alliance area as the first Van’s Tire originated there in 1975. Plus, Kirk worked for Van’s Tire 36 years ago, Philip explains.
Philip has grown the store exponentially since taking over in August of 2018. The company’s business is made up of 65% tires and the rest service, and Philip says he’s grown the business from five employees to 11, from two bays to seven and from generating $950,00 a year to close to $1.6 million. Philip says Van’s Tire Pros of Alliance is in a rapid growth phase, and in the future, he’s looking to expand with more locations.
Carrying on Kirk’s legacy, Philip says his friend’s business philosophy of treating the customer right is carried out in all they do.
“Always treat the customer fair and with honesty,” he notes. “That’s helped us come a long way to get where we are.”