With opportunities for growth, many businesses add to their bottom line, but it also becomes more complex and complicated to keep things running. With so many balls in the air, it gets harder to stick to your mission– why you even started in the first place–as well as your vision for the business and the values you want the business to carry out on a daily basis. It’s truly a juggling act, but one business that has been able to do this as it has grown over the last 52 years is K&M Tire.
Founded in 1970, Ken Langhals started K&M Tire with $100. It was originally a two-bay gas station in northwest Ohio. However, over the years, Ken left tire retail, tried his hand at retreading and ultimately, locked in tire distribution as his area of focus. Since then, the business has grown to 32 distribution centers in more than 25 states.
But through it all, Ken, now CEO of the business, and his daughter, Cheryl Gossard, the business’s president who handles day-to-day operations, have kept in focus the mission, vision and values of how they’d like to run the business. Has it changed over the years? Of course! Cheryl will tell you that when K&M acquired a tire distributor and doubled in size, those three guiding principles went into question. However, they’ve always come back (and at times redefined) their mission, vision and values, as each employee knows the standards in which K&M operates its business.
In this episode of Johnny g & Friends, presented by Firestone, Johnny g sits down with Ken and Cheryl to talk about the business’s humble beginnings, how it has evolved over the years with the handover from father to daughter in leadership, the improvements it has made as its grown and what it’s growth strategy is for the future.
- How K&M has grown over 52 years from a one-bay gas station to 32 warehouses – and from selling 2,000 tires per year to 2,000 tires per hour. (1:49)
- Why Ken left a stable at General Motors to get into the tire industry. (3:08)
- How Cheryl got her start in the tire industry in the living room of the Langhal’s house and what she has learned from her dad. (4:25)
- Programs Cheryl has created and evolved during her time at the helm of K&M, including- training and development programs and a warehouse management system overhaul. (6:30)
- Mentors that helped Ken learn the ropes in the tire business such as Paul Zurcher and Ray Monteith. (9:20)
- Major moments of growth during K&M’s history and how the company has adapted to them. (11:22)
- The event in K&M’s history that led Cheryl to re-evaluate and put top of mind K&M’s vision, mission and values, which help guide the company today. (15:14)
- How K&M looks to grow in the future (18:34)
- Memories Johnny g and Ken have shared during their time in the tire industry (19:34)