On the Rise: Josh Wright
Owner and operator | The Tire Shop | Age: 31
What was your first job in the industry?
Sweeping floors and cleaning tire equipment at Hinson’s Tire Pros in Morro Bay, Calif.
What attracted you to the industry?
I've always had an interest in cars and trucks. I started in a tire shop, sweeping floors and cleaning shop equipment when I was 14. I became a certified mechanic at age 18 in California, but moved to Montana when I was 21. I got a job at the local tire shop, where I learned the ins and outs of the tire business, but there wasn't much opportunity for advancement, so I decided to go out on my own.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
Opening, operating, and maintaining an upstanding independent tire business in a rural community.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
My old boss, Bruce Hilpert, who taught me the skills necessary to meet everyone’s tire needs and wants, and the ins and outs of the tire industry, while balancing family with work. Also Gary Smith of Roy, Mont., who was the biggest influence and indispensable asset in starting a business from scratch.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
Being able to go from a one-truck mobile farm service, to having two trucks, and now, a tire shop to meet every tire need anyone could have in central Montana. Being able to provide a stable income for my growing family as an owner and operator makes the long hours and hard work well worth it at the end of the day.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
In 20 years, I would hope to be teaching my son how to run my business. Family is important, and even though he is only 2 now, I would love to teach him everything I know to have him be better than I am at what I do.
What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today?
Big box stores. They are able to buy more and sell for cheaper, pushing out small independent retailers like myself.
What’s the one thing you wish someone would have told you before you entered the industry?
How complex this field can be. The knowledge and technology is always changing, and it's a lot of work to keep on top of it and progress.
How do you encourage others to enter the industry?
There is a satisfaction that comes with being able to start at the bottom and work your way up. The pay is terrible out of the gate, but if they want to stick with it, they could be the next “latest and greatest.”
Tell us about your family.
My wife is Tiffany and she works at the shop with me every day, keeping me and the books in line. My son, Josh Jr., or Deuce as we call him, is 2 years old and loves hanging out and working with me. I can see a lot of determination and perfectionism in him. My little girl, Charlie, is 1 and she is the most beautifully strong willed young lady I have ever met. I see myself in her attitude and grit every day.
What’s your favorite weekend activity?
Spending time with my family and sneaking in a fishing and hunting trip when time allows.
What keeps you up at night?
The day-to-day stresses of being an independent tire dealer and small business owner, and always questioning if I'm making the best decisions.
Tell us something about yourself others might not know.
I never intended to open my own tire shop.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Good whiskey and video games. Put them together and we'll have a good time.
Name a talent you wish you had.
Juggling. Something so simple that I have never been able to master.
What’s your favorite food?
Anything new and exciting. I'm always trying to cook new things on the weekends or try new options when we go out. The same old thing all the time gets boring.
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
My grandpa. Just one more meal.
If we took your cell phone away and said it would cost you $1,000 to get it back, how long would you survive until you paid the ransom?
If you took my phone for ransom, I would have to pay the ransom right away, if you took a debit card. Otherwise as long as it would take me to get to the bank! My phone is my lifeline and money maker.