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Waukegan Tire Named 2020 Tire Review Top Shop Winner

A four-time Top Shop finalist, Waukegan Tire & Supply, with three locations in the Chicagoland area, is the winner of the 2020 Tire Review Top Shop Award, presented by Coats.


The winner was announced during Tire Review‘s Top Shop Event in Nashville, Tennessee, this weekend. Its founder, president and CEO, Gerald “Jerry” Nerheim, at 85 years old still works every day and is happiest when talking with employees and customers. His admiration from those in the industry is widespread and “he’s an innovative force with a knack for staying ahead of the curve,” say his children Steve Nerheim, vice president and COO, and Julie Nerheim Scroggins, vice president and CFO.


In describing attributes of Waukegan Tire that contributed to its win, Mary DellaValle, editor of Tire Review, noted: “Waukegan Tire’s guiding principles are based on the values of always working hard and with integrity, treating people with respect and kindness (like family) and exceeding expectations. This dealership provides a level of extended care and honesty that fosters customers for life. It proudly services the vehicles of multi-generational customers, who are ambassadors for their business and send countless referrals their way. While this dealership is progressive, forward-thinking and keeps up with technology, it hasn’t lost focus of the foundation upon which it was built—making customers priority No. 1 every, single day.”

Steve accepted the award on his father’s behalf at the event. “I’m so proud of our team and I wish my dad were here. Thank you, this is amazing,” he said, as he was awarded the Top Shop trophy by Dean Martin, publisher of Tire Review. “I’m so proud of everybody; our employees. This is incredible; what an honor!”


Expressing gratitude for his father’s influence on his life and the business in general, Steve continued, “What a great journey. I’m really proud of my dad and being able to work alongside of him. I’m so grateful, this is amazing, thank you so much.”

Waukegan Tire was chosen (by a panel of independent judges) from among dozens of entries. The three other Top Shop Finalists in this year’s competition were:

  • Burt Brothers Tire & Service, a 12-location dealership in Salt Lake City, Utah, owned by Jake, Brandon, Jeremy, Jason & Cory Burt. The Burts say they’ve built their reputation on having the best, most knowledgeable, and most skilled technicians and team members, and the most up-to-date tools and equipment. But they say it’s the loyalty of their outstanding customers that has really helped them build lasting success.
  • Courtesy Auto Service & Tire of Tacoma (Washington), owned by Scott Welsh, a three-time Top Shop finalist. Welsh says Courtesy has found success in taking an approach of being the best resource in the market to solve issues, maintain their customer’s cars and be the most knowledgeable resource to buy tires. They accomplish these goals with training, asking the right questions, listening to their customers’ needs and providing unique alternatives for convenience such as loaner vehicles for their customers’ use.
  • Plaza Tire Service, a 67-location dealership in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, owned by Mark & Scott Rhodes. The Rhodes brothers say that marketing is an integral component of their business. They market Plaza Tire Service—not any particular tire brand. They want their customers to remember their experience at Plaza Tire Service, not “that store that sold me this brand of tires.” Plaza has 42,262 reviews on Google and Facebook. Of those, 39,792 – 94.1% – are either four or five stars.

During the event, each shop owner toured the factory at Hennessy Industries in LaVergne, Tennessee, where Coats tire changers, wheel balancers, lifts and accessories are made. As part of the program’s accolades, winners hand-picked a complimentary piece of equipment for their business.

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