On the Rise: Jake Gregory
Owner | Hometown Tire Pros | Age: 29
What was your first job in the industry?
I started off as a tire tech at the Discount Tire my dad managed at the age of 15.
What attracted you to the industry?
My dad mostly. When I was younger I liked how everywhere we went my dad knew everyone. Now that I'm older I see it was because he really took care of everyone and that is what I enjoy the most today — being able to take care of customers and also seeing my employees grow and achieving so much.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?
When I first bought the small filling station in Sundown, I got stuck with all the old owner’s debt because I didn't have a lawyer read the sales agreement. Rookie mistake. Starting out in debt was the biggest challenge for me. Also I would have to say competing against my Dad in the tire business wasn't easy either.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
I would say two people, first my dad because he taught me everything up until I started my own business. Now that he is retired he is a great person for advice. Second would be Lee Wikle with American Tire Distributors. He has been a big influence on my career, helping me pick the locations I'm at now and making sure I'm on the correct programs and convincing me to join the Tire Pros team.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
I would say our sales records that we keep breaking every month and opening three stores in six years.
Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your work day?
Being the owner I wear many hats in the company and fill in wherever needed. Typically I start out in my Wolfforth store in the morning and make myself available for anyone who needs help. In the afternoon, I visit my Levelland store and stop by my Sundown location on the way back to Wolfforth.
What’s one thing you wish someone would have told you before you took your current job?
From a business owner standpoint: read the contracts. Have your lawyer review everything before signing anything.
Tell us about your family.
My family is a tire family. My dad spent 30 years in the tire business; I've learned so much from him. I have a beautiful wife who does my accounting. My mom is also in the accounting business. I have two younger brothers, one manages one of my stores and the other is a tire tech at another one of my stores. I have a cousin, who is basically a brother, who manages a store as well. We're a very family-oriented company. There is no way I'd be where I am today without the help and support of my family. They mean everything to me.
What did you learn about yourself in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic?
I learned not to let something like the pandemic scare you or make you retreat. You have to keep pushing forward and learn to adapt to survive.
Name a talent you wish you had.
I wish I could play the guitar like Jimi Hendrix.
How do you recover from a bad or stressful day?
Alone time and come up with solutions on how to make it better.
What’s the best book you’ve read lately?
Zig Ziglar's "Born to Win"
What’s your favorite, can’t-miss podcast?
Real AF with Andy Frisella
If you won an Olympic gold medal, how would you have earned it? (You can make up a sport.)
What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today?
Finding quality employees who are driven and want to work, as well as finding inventory in stock.
What advice would you give to tire dealers who are desperate to find good employees?
Hire the best and don't hesitate to pay them their worth.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
Opening more tire stores.