Ziegler Tire celebrated its 100th anniversary at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Ziegler Tire celebrated its 100th anniversary at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Ziegler Tire & Supply Co. celebrated its 100th anniversary at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, last night (Sept. 18), an appropriate venue because the National Football League is celebrating its 100th season this year. (Go Browns!)

I was one of the many people on hand to congratulate the family. John Marshall, co-owner and vice president of Grismer Tire Co. in Dayton, Ohio, flew some 200 miles (that's literally, because he flew the plane) to honor the Zieglers.

Thanks to its 100-year history with Ziegler Tire, Bridgestone Americas Inc. was represented by dignitaries past (Phil Pasci, Johnny G!) and present (Erik Seidel, Barry Feasel, among others). Gordon Knapp, TJ Higgins and other Bridgestone executives honored Ziegler Tire via video.

Both Bridgestone (a plaque) and Michelin North America Inc. (a specially designed tire) presented the family with gifts commemorating their partnerships.

Of all the Zieglers, I know John Jr. the best. Part of the company's third generation, John runs the Mighty Tire Wholesale Inc. subsidiary. He is also a huge Cleveland sports fan, like myself. He walked, well, talked the attendees through the history of the company, emphasizing the importance of the suppliers, the customers, and the 380-plus Ziegler Tire associates to the success of the business.

Bridging the generation gap, I also met his father, John (Jack) Sr. (former chairman), and his son, John III (commercial sales manager). Jack and his brother, Harold Ziegler Jr., were both at the event. And that brings me to...

...Harold Ziegler Sr., who with his older brother, Oliver, started the tire dealership in 1919 (brothers Herb and Norm joined the business later). I was lucky enough to meet Harold Sr. and Jr. when I wrote a story about the dealership's 75th anniversary in 1994. So I have now met four generations of Ziegler's in my Modern Tire Dealer career!

President Bill Ziegler addressed the attendees via video.

President Bill Ziegler addressed the attendees via video.

Harold Sr. was 93 years old at the time. He was no longer involved in the day-to-day operation of the business, but he still attended board meetings. "Harvey Firestone (founder and president of the Firestone Tire & Rubber Co.) and John Thomas (then vice president) used to come into our station two or three times a year to see how we were doing," he told me.

When Ziegler Tire opened its doors, a tire's tread wear could be measured more easily in months than miles. Harold Sr. told me getting three months out of a tire in 1919 was considered good. "It was an event to drive 50 miles and not have a flat," he said.

Harold Jr. started selling for his dad after four years of college and two years in the Army Transportation Corp. Formerly president, he is still involved in the business and comes into the office every day. Bill Ziegler, son of Herb Ziegler, runs the 23 Ziegler Tire outlets, two retread plants and two wholesale warehouses as president. Bill was our 2009 Tire Dealer of the Year.

Unfortunately, Bill was unable to make it to the event due to an illness. He sent a video hello to the attendees and echoed John Jr.'s remarks about the company's priorities. Then he toasted the group for good measure.

Regardless of the Ziegler involved, whether relayed by speech, past inverviews or video, the company's message remains the same: Making customer service a priority breeds success. In this case, 100 years of success.

Author

Bob Ulrich
Bob Ulrich

Editor, Retired

Editor Bob Ulrich has earned a reputation as an industry expert thanks to his insightful, in-depth articles and blogs on the tire industry. Before joining Modern Tire Dealer in 1985, Bob earned a B.A. in English literature from Ohio Northern University. Also, he graduated from the University of Akron School of Law with a J.D.

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Editor Bob Ulrich has earned a reputation as an industry expert thanks to his insightful, in-depth articles and blogs on the tire industry. Before joining Modern Tire Dealer in 1985, Bob earned a B.A. in English literature from Ohio Northern University. Also, he graduated from the University of Akron School of Law with a J.D.

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