Schmucker Guides Millersburg Tire Through Growth Phase
Millersburg Tire Service Inc. is closing in on 70 years of being in business and one person who has been there for nearly every step is Brad Schmucker, the company’s CEO.
His father and uncle started the business in 1953 in Holmes County, Ohio. And as Schmucker - who was born that year and later ran around the place as a youngster - gets ready to step back, he couldn’t be more proud of his family and the business they run.
“At the end of May, I will have been doing it for 50 years. And come June 2, I guess, I am going to retire.
“But I will probably be back in on June 3 because I told the kids I was going to help them,” Schmucker says with a laugh.
His son, Brandon, is the president of the company and his daughter, Brittany, is vice president/treasurer.
“My brothers worked here. And my two grandsons, Wyatt and Owen, are the fourth generation. When they aren’t in school, they come in. Nothing makes me any prouder than having one of my grandsons working beside me or helping. That, to me, is the ultimate. I can get emotional” about it.
Schmucker’s right-hand man, Steve Kauffman, who works in the company’s wholesale division, also plans to retire. They both started around the same time.
“I said it would be an honor for him to walk out with me,” Schmucker says of Kauffman. “Except he will golf the next day and I will go back to work!”
Schmucker recalls his early years with the dealership.
“It seems like yesterday. I graduated on Sunday and went to my Dad’s school of hard knocks on Monday. I started cleaning the bathrooms, stacking tires, worked in the retread shop, loaded trucks, drove trucks - I have done it all.”
Millersburg Tire, which employs 40 people, got its start with ag tires, but it covers the gamut of products now, selling passenger, light truck and commercial truck tires. And it has a wholesale division.
Schmucker bought the business from his brothers and his father, Sheldon, in 2007.
“From 2007 to 2018, we doubled our business. We are continually growing every year.”
Schmucker credits the farming community and just being diligent in how his employees do business for the dealership’s overall success.
“We give good service and good prices,” he says. “And we treat people the way we want to be treated. Just be nice. It’s not rocket science. You don’t have to be a Harvard graduate to do these things.
“People like to come to a place where people are nice. They want to go where people know their names. We try hard each and every day. We aren’t perfect. Dad always said you can never please everybody, but you can never quit trying. We still use that to this day.”
And Schmucker isn’t afraid of a challenge. “If somebody calls and says, ‘I can’t find these tires,’ that is a throwdown. I am ready to put my parachute on, jump out of the plane and find those tires.”
As you speak with Schmucker, you can’t help but be drawn in by his genuine manner. This is evident when he talks about Ivan Barkman, a member of his sales team who suddenly passed away in November 2021.
“We just got a card in the mail addressed to him after he passed,” says Schmucker. “Boy, it was tough for me to hold it together. It was somebody he had taken care of two or three months prior sending the card. We will definitely save that note.
“I find as I get older that when somebody takes a minute to send a handwritten note, it usually makes me tear up. I’m not going to lie to you.”
Millersburg Tire still specializes in ag tires. “My Dad built the foundation on farm tires. In this last year, we fell just a tad short of (selling) 6,000 farm tires. If I could tell him that now, I would say, ‘Dad, you know when you started out with those two or three tires you used to sell …’”
Schmucker says the dealership is doing well despite present headwinds.
Millersburg Tire has about 1,000 tires on back order as the pandemic continues. (On the ag tire side, Schmucker deals mostly with Firestone and CEAT brand products.)
The people of Holmes County have taken part in Millersburg Tire’s various celebrations over the years. Schmucker was planning another for early-2022, but had to scuttle it due to the pandemic. Those festivities will be brought back soon, he hopes.
Schmucker loves how one of his customers, who has since passed away, talked about Millersburg Tire. The customer would tell him, “If Millersburg Tire doesn’t have it and can’t get it, you don’t need it.”