Ziegler Tire emphasizes the giving in 'giving back'

Mike Manges
Posted on June 1, 2009

In the corporate world, the term "giving back to the community" almost has become a worn-out cliche. Everybody seems to talk about charity and helping those in need. However, one company, Ziegler Tire & Oil, is putting its money where its mouth is, and the giving back it's doing couldn't have come at a better time.

The Massillon, Ohio-based dealership is providing free oil and filter changes, tire rotations, flat repairs, fluid checks and vehicle inspections for unemployed customers in an effort to get them back on the road as they hunt for new jobs. If their cars need actual repairs, Ziegler Tire is providing them at cost. The company also is offering new tires at cost (no charge for installation, balancing, disposal, etc.)

Ziegler Tire launched the program in early May at six of its retail stores in the greater Canton, Ohio, area. More than 100 customers have taken advantage of it, Dave Nedved, Ziegler Tire's director of retail sales and operations, recently told me.

To qualify for the program, customers must:

1. Schedule an appointment at one of the six stores.

2. Present proof of unemployment, including a federal or state unemployment determination letter and an unemployment stub.

3. Present proof of vehicle ownership, including registration.

"Oil changes and inspections are probably 80% of what we've done so far," said Nedved. To date, the biggest repair has been a four-wheel brake job.

Ziegler Tire is promoting the program via local media outlets, including newspapers and radio. "We went to people we normally advertise with and told them what we were doing. They thought it was a terrific idea" and are running ads at no charge.

The family-owned dealership has not asked for help from any of its tire or auto parts suppliers, says its president, Bill Ziegler. "We don't want people to think there's some kind of catch to this and we didn't want to play one (supplier) against another."

Ziegler Tire, the country's oldest Bridgestone/Firestone dealership. is celebrating its 90th year in business, a significant achievement by anyone's standards. With a loyal, longtime customer base, it easily could have gotten away without "giving back" anything.

Five years ago, the dealership celebrated its 85th anniversary by throwing a big, multi-day party at one of its stores, with refreshments and autograph sessions by legendary race car driver Mario Andretti.

"We spent a lot of money," said Nedved. But things were different then. This year, "we thought 'Maybe there's something we can do instead of some grand promotion.'"

More than 100 individuals who've been battered and bruised by the recession are better off because of Ziegler Tire's decision to look beyond itself. Now that's giving back.

Related Topics: auto service, Charity, community service, Flat repair, Oil changes, Retail, tire sales, Undercar work, Ziegler Tire

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