Van’s Tire & Service Owner Follows in Founder’s Footsteps – Modern Tire Dealer5 min read
This past August, L. Wayne Vanaman, founder of Van’s Tire & Service in Akron, Ohio, passed away, leaving his business for the next two generations of its ownership – his son and grandson.
Michael Vanaman, Wayne’s son, says his father provided wisdom and guidance when the younger Vanaman was ready to take over the dealership years ago. And Michael is mentoring his child, Jesse, within the same way in order to provide an uninterrupted legacy of customer service.
The ‘Van’ in Van’s Wheel
Wayne Vanaman first worked as a professional welder in the 1970s. In his spare time, he would find deals on blemished tires and sell them out of the back associated with his Dodge van to small, independent auto repair shops within the Akron-Canton, Ohio, area.
“He earned a fine reputation of always having good tires at a good price, ” says Jordan. “He also got the particular nickname ‘Van’ since he drove around and sold tires out of a van and their last name has the word ‘van’ in it. That’s why he decided to name his first location Van’s Tires. ”
Wayne’s first store was in Alliance, Kansas, a suburb of Canton. He opened his second location within Atwater, Ohio, and then added other locations in and close to Akron.
At their peak, Van was running nine busy stores.
Michael states that his father usually looked for locations that were fairly close together so this individual could manage them within a hands-on way. “He wanted in order to run the business and not let the particular business run him, ” says Eileen.
When they were ready, Vanaman made sure each of their three children took over the Van’s Car tire location and helped them through the process.
Michael’s older brother, Wayne Vanaman Jr., ran the company’s Streetsboro, Ohio, area. (He later sold the particular store to a family friend. )
Michael got the Van’s Tire & Service store in Manchester, Ohio.
His younger brother, Mark, became the owner of the chain’s Wadsworth, Kansas, location, which he offered years later on to another tire dealer who rebranded the store under the Van’s Tire Pros banner.
His sister, Becky (Vanaman) Barnes, overtook a Van’s Tire & Service place on the east side of Akron, which furthermore later became a Van’s Tire Benefits store.
The only Van’s Tire & Service locations that operate under the company’s original name and share the particular same website are the Manchester location, still owned by Erina; a location in Redfield, Ohio, which is possessed by a family friend; plus a store in Streetsboro, Ohio.
“Downscaling just happened naturally on its own, with the shops being sold or rented, ” says Michael.
Legacy of service
Michael states it took some time for his father to convince him to take over the Stansted location. “I liked working under my dad — just like my boy, Jesse, likes working below me, ” says Michael. “One day, (Wayne) basically came up to me and said, ‘You’re taking more than. It’s your shop. ‘
“I knew that he would help me with the adjustments required as an owner. He didn’t let me down and was right by my part the entire time. ”
The particular elder Vanaman had arranged for Jordan and his wife to buy the particular business “over a period of years. ”
That was more than three decades ago and Eileen says he or she still runs the shop in a similar manner as his dad did. “I feel that if it’s not broken, then don’t fix it. My dad never pressured people to buy plus rather than look for a quick buck, he always kept looking at the bigger picture. ”
Michael says that Van’s Tire & Service has always been particular about what it carries in inventory.
Yearly, Van’s Tire & Service’s Manchester area – which has seven bays and employs 10 people – sells about 5, 000 tires and offers a ratio of 60% tire sales to 40% auto service.
The busy car dealership performs all undercar services at the locations.
“I’ve had opportunities to sell the company over the many years and selling out sounded pretty good” at various times, states Michael. “So I sat down along with my kid and my son-in-law and said, ‘Unless you guys want it, I will probably sell. ’ Both of them said, ‘We want in order to keep it as grandpa’s heritage. ’
“Some associated with these companies might have made attractive deals, but family is the most important thing to me. ”
Michael’s son, Jesse, has been “trained from the ground up” within the business. Whenever he 1st started, this individual changed wheels and oil and ran customers home if their cars had been needed overnight.
“Jesse wouldn’t simply drive all of them home. This individual would get to know them plus build a relationship with them. ”
Work and life
In May 2016, the fire broke out in Van’s Wheel & Service’s Manchester store during the particular workday. Although there were no injuries, the fire caused Erina to “reconsider his life. ”
The dealership used to be open six days a week, Monday through Saturday. After the open fire, Michael made the decision to permanently close their store on Saturdays.
Before this, Van’s Car tire & Service was already in the process of reducing its Saturday hours. It started by closing at 3 p. m., then shutting at 2 p. meters. and then closing at 1 p. mirielle. until the car dealership closed upon Saturdays altogether.
“When we worked well six times a week, we would possess high plus low spurts throughout the day, ” says Michael. “Now that we are open five days a week, all of us seem in order to be steadily busy throughout the day. This will be a decision that we all have in no way regretted.
“It allows myself and all of our employees to spend quality time along with their families each and every weekend. ”
Van’s Tire & Support draws the majority of its customers from the particular local community, according to Jordan. But the company provides a handful of clients who make the trek back to Van’s Wheel & Services, even though they live far away from the dealership.
“I have a customer who lives much into Pennsylvania, ” says Michael. “When he needs tires, he or she won’t go anywhere else but here. ”
Another perk of keeping the business within the family is that the Vanamans get in order to see the next generations of their longtime customers.
Eileen says Van’s Tire & Service is now serving the children and grandchildren of original customers that will his dad took care of when he opened his first shop. “As the only location owned and operated by our family, we plan to continue to do things because our founder did. ”