July 23, 2014
A tire store grows in Brooklyn
Emil’s All Tire Co. flourishes thanks to forward-thinking business practices, a large inventory and close attention to details
Of Emil’s 17 shop employees in Brooklyn, N.Y., nine are technicians and two are tire specialists. The dealership stocks close to 2,000 tires.
Ralph Czeisler, manager and owner of Emil’s All Tire Co., knows his tires. He knows that low-profile tires — a popular choice for his many BMW-driving customers — cannot handle the potholes of Brooklyn, N.Y., very well. He knows how to make split-second assessments about tire rotation with a glance at his customers’ tire treads and a working memory of their vehicles’ histories. But more than his knowledge of tires, Czeisler understands his customers.
Emil’s All Tire, a full-service tire dealership with what Czeisler calls one of the largest in-store stocks of tires in all of Brooklyn, remains a successful operation by continuously exploring unique ways to keep his business profitable and placing a premium on customer service.
“I always emphasize two things, again and again: quality and service,” says Czeisler, sitting next to a wall covered in hand-written thank you notes from satisfied customers. “People like having a relationship — they don’t want to be treated as a number.”
Czeisler grew up in Rockaway, N.Y., and lives there with his wife and three children. Emil’s All Tire is in nearby Gravesend.
Located in the southern tip of the New York City borough of Brooklyn, Gravesend has a population of around 30,000, according to the United States Census Bureau. The area is well-known for its concentration of Eastern European Jewish residents and proximity to some of the Big Apple’s busiest thoroughfares, including Ocean and Belt parkways and the Gowanus Expressway.
In 1979, Czeisler’s Romanian-born father, Emil Czeisler, opened the original Emil’s a few blocks away from the shop’s current location on Gravesend Neck Road. Czeisler came into the business full-time 22 years ago. He says one of his goals is to “always look for new ways to elevate the business and bring new customers into the shop in order to generate more and new income.”
When the dealership’s long-time lease expired in 2005, Czeisler decided it was time for a change. A move to a new address proved a success, one of many displays of business smarts for the younger Czeisler.
According to Hoover’s, a research company dedicated to aggregating information on private businesses, Emil’s All Tire sees upward of $2 million in annual sales. The dealership has an A-plus standing with the Better Business Bureau.
Yelp.com, a popular user-based review website, gives Emil’s All Tire four out of five stars.
“Sales are much better with the fresh start,” says Czeisler. “My father saw a window of opportunity (when he opened Emil’s), and he was successful because of his warm and attentive personality. But he was not always geared as a business entrepreneur.”
Speedy repairs are one of the biggest goals at Emil’s. “I do what I need to do to get you back on the road as quickly as possible,” says Czeisler. He also keeps convenient hours of operation, including being open on Sundays.
Addressing community needs
While Czeisler remains focused on friendly service, he also has prioritized keeping Emil’s All Tire a competitive modern business.
Recognizing the differing needs of the surrounding multi-ethnic community, Emil’s 17 employees can collectively speak six different languages, including Hebrew, Russian and Spanish.
In observance of Shabbat, the day of rest in Judaism, the dealership is closed on Saturdays. Czeisler opens the business on Sundays at 7 a.m. for weekend service.
“We keep our hours of operation very convenient,” says Czeisler. “Sundays are actually our busiest day and the day we bring in the most new customers. Their cars break down, their regular shops are closed, so they end up here if something goes wrong.”
In order to meet the tire needs of Brooklyn drivers, Emil’s stocks approximately 2,000 tires in its attached warehouse space. Czeisler sells Michelin, BFGoodrich, Uniroyal, Firestone, Bridgestone, Dunlop, Goodyear, Sumitomo, Kumho and Pirelli tires, among other brands.
According to www.tirerack.com, Emil’s is a highly recommended installer, and meets its “Price Pledge Plus” requirements for customer satisfaction.
Each year, Emil’s All Tire brings in classes of local elementary students to learn about automotive service. Czeisler shows them an oil change, the under carriage of a car, and gives a tour of his shop. Pictured is his waiting area.
Small things matter
In order to draw customers from neighborhoods outside Gravesend, Czeisler turned to expanding his operation’s social media presence.
In addition to the company’s frequently updated Facebook page and Twitter handle, Czeisler points to a 2009 professional redesign of Emil’s All Tire’s website as one important step into the 21st century.
“My father was never big on advertisements, instead believing his work spoke for itself,” says Czeisler. “Word-of-mouth is our main form of advertising, but we do pride ourselves on our presence on the Internet, and we get a lot of new customers from it.”
Rather than offer special deals on products — “I’m not interested in attracting that type of customer” — Czeisler relies on personal touches that keep his customers coming back for more.
“We don’t do television or newspaper ads,” he says. “We make a yearly calendar, and give it out for free. We focus on the small things. Small things matter.”
Gail Weber, a neighborhood customer of three years, appreciates the attention to detail. One day in 2010, she had auto repairs done at the dealership, and she has used Emil’s All Tire for all of her car needs since.
“I’m treated nicely, they always do competent work, the staff is respectful, and I’m quickly attended to by employees,” she says.