The Tire Rack has issued an official statement regarding the death of Chairman Emeritus and Founder Peter “Pete” Veldman, 87.
“Pete embodied the American dream with his bold trailblazing accomplishments within the tire and wheel industry,” said Matt Edmonds, vice president, Tire Rack.
“His leadership and presence within the Tire Rack walls for 35 years was marked by an unfettered energy and drive for excellence that will absolutely endure in everyone that was fortunate to know him, work for him and learn from him. Pete was a selfless man who actively served his community and enjoyed providing family, friends and colleagues with tools needed to succeed.”
Originally founded in 1979 as a single-point retail store in Indianapolis by Dutch immigrants and American entrepreneurs Pete and Wilma Veldman, the family-owned Tire Rack, originally catered to enthusiasts looking for hard-to-find tires for their high performance cars.
After three years, and due to Pete’s vision for the future, Tire Rack started its first mail-order operation which grew exponentially, allowing Tire Rack to focus solely on mail-order and soon-to-be online tire and wheel sales. Under Veldman’s direction, in 1995, Tire Rack began testing the tires it sold, teaching America that buying tires can be fun, easy and educational.
Today, as one of the first mail-order tire operations to take advantage of the Internet, www.TireRack.com has grown into the country’s largest independent tire tester with six distribution centers across the U.S., and an industry-leading online resource with more than 50 million visitors annually to its website, where consumers can research, buy, have delivered and get installed tires, wheels and performance accessories.
Beyond his passion for keeping drivers safely connected to America’s highways and byways, Pete lived selflessly and supported many community efforts, especially those targeting military veterans, a cause he personally related to as a U.S. Army veteran himself, having completed service tours in the Korean War. Every few weeks, and up until his passing, Pete would joyfully hand-pack boxes of magazines and other care items for service men and women across the country.
“The drive that fueled Pete to succeed and spread joy within this country after migrating here in 1946 will forever live throughout the walls of Tire Rack as we continue to carry his light into the tire and wheel industry by continuing to look for new ways to spark innovation,” said Edmonds. “He will truly be missed.”
Bob Ulrich was named Modern Tire Dealer editor in August 2000. He joined the magazine in 1985 as assistant editor, and has been responsible for gathering statistical information for MTD's "Facts Issue" since 1993.