John Ziegler Jr. has rubber running through his veins. The third generation of a 102-year-old tire business, John Jr. grew up busting tires at his family’s Ziegler Tire retail stores in Canton, Ohio. After graduating college, he worked for a short time at a Firestone store, yet the family business, which claims to be one of the first and oldest Firestone dealers, called him back.
A jack of all trades, John Jr. has worked on the retail, commercial and wholesale side of Ziegler Tire’s growing business, and now serves as the company’s vice president. Over the years, Ziegler Tire has grown to include three wholesale centers, two retread plants, 16 commercial centers and seven retail locations.
From growing up in the business, John Jr. has plenty of stories about Ziegler Tire’s growing pains and triumphs and has met tire industry greats along the way, including his friend, Johnny g. In this episode of Johnny g & Friends, sponsored by Firestone, John Jr. delves into:
- Why he didn’t come back to the family business right away after graduating college (1:40)
- Keys to Ziegler Tire’s longevity in the tire busines, advice he received from generations before him and what wisdom he has passed down to his son (3:59)
- His mentors over the years and the people that shaped his life in the tire industry, including his cousin, Bill, president of Ziegler Tire, his Uncle Harold who got him into IndyCar racing, the Grismer Tire guys and the group of tire dealers from “The Tabernacle of Golf” (7:23)
- Challenges Ziegler Tire has undergone in its 102-year old history, including surviving the Great Depression, and how those challenges shaped its culture and DNA (12:32)
- Memories Johnny g and John Jr. have shared over the years from the “Gamarama” at the New Orleans Superdome, Johnny g’s Chicago Bears coat, trips to Japan, experiencing the Monaco Grand Prix and IndyCar races (15:17)
- How Ziegler Tire became a Firestone dealer with one of Harvey Firestone’s first salesman signing on brothers Oliver and Harold Ziegler as dealers in the early 1900s (19:33)
- Why Ziegler Tire has stuck with the Firestone brand and why it didn’t carry another brand until the 1970s (21:40)