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Longtime Tire Seller Reopens

(The Star Press) For decades, the name Stuby Tire was a familiar one to local motorists. From a Willard Street building that was once, according to legend, used for shoeing horses, a series of owners sold and repaired tires for much of the 20th century.

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The company’s radio commercials alone made it a local institution with their distinctive echo: "Stuby Tire … Tire … Tire."

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Five years after the business closed, the most recent owners have decided to reopen it.

"We came back to visit in June," said Connie Martin. "We were working on cleaning up the building and people started stopping by, saying, ‘We need a tire store on this side of town.’"

The feedback helped convince Martin, her husband Marty Martin and co-owner Steve Smith to reopen. A grand opening for the business, located at 315 E. Willard St., is set for Aug. 1.

Stuby Tire opened 75 years ago. Lyman Stuby merged his business with one owned by Donald Gudgel in 1961 and Gudgel ran the company for decades. Marty Martin bought the business in 1995 and operated it until 2003.

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Smith, who worked for the Martins for 15 years at Stuby Tire and Miller Tire, another local business, said the time was right to reopen. High gas prices and food costs prompt many to wear their tires to the point of no return.

That benefits the tire business, however, because people have to get tires repaired, buy used tires and, ultimately, buy new tires.

"Not many people really like having to spend money on tires, but they know it’s a necessity," Smith said. "And we’re seeing more repairs and used tires to get people by for the time being."

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Stuby has nearly 1,000 used tires in stock, Smith said. The price difference between new and used tires is substantial, with used tires starting at $25 each and new tires starting at $60 each.

Jerry Friend, the city building commissioner, is a former customer of Stuby Tire.
"When they closed, it disappointed a lot of loyal customers," Friend said. "It’s good to see them open."

To reopen the building, Smith and the Martins had to repair the roof, repave and paint. "We’ve done quite a bit," Smith said.

Martin – who said she and her husband will supervise the business but leave much of its operations to Smith during times they are in Florida – is looking forward to seeing customers again, particularly those from the city’s south side, which is dotted with auto parts stores and repair shops.

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"South Muncie has always been very loyal to Stuby Tire," she said. "We’ve got businesses coming to us saying, ‘We want to do business with you again.’" (Tire Review/Akron)

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