MTD Dealer Profile: Bob and Juanita Purcell

Sept. 1, 2004

Full names: Robert G. Purcell, Juanita C. Purcell

Family: Jacquelyn Purcell Breder (daughter); Patricia Purcell Flynn (daughter); Dennis Flynn (son-in-law); Tosca Sanders, Lori Breder, Kala Flynn and Kyle Flynn (grandchildren)

I am most proud of: Bob: my wife, Juanita, and meeting and marrying her almost 50 years ago; being named Tire Dealer of the Year; and my induction into the Tire Industry Hall of Fame. Juanita: my family; oru company; as it has become part of our family; and my husband, Bob, in his relentless pursuit of doing a good job.

My hobbies/interests include: Bob: running Purcell Tire. Juanita: reading, golf, certain charities, and working. 

My favorite childhood memories: Bob: My father showing me how to change a tire on the Model T and growing up in the tire business. Juanita: I was raised in a small county, Warren County, Mo., and was asked to give the eigth grade commencement speech for the entire county. I saved the dress I wore for years:

My biggest regret: Bob: I did not do an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) earlier. Juanita: I didn't finish my master's degree. We moved to DeSoto and the nearest school was an hour away. With two small children and working, there simply wasn't time.

My favorite books: Bob: "Quest for Happiness" (seventh grade catechism), John Grisham's "The Jury," Ann Coulter's "Treason," "Who Moved My Cheese?" and "Who's Looking Out for Us?" by Bill O'Reilly. Juanita: All books. I read fiction, non-fiction and a great number of motivational books.

My favorite sports: Bob: football and baseball. Juanita: golf and football. 

My favorite athletes: Bob: Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Mickey Mantle. Juanita: Jackie Smith, tight end for the former St. Louis Cardinals. My favorite coach is Dick Vermeil, who said, "I've always felt that if you can move a player's commitment from his head to his heart, you've got a chance to make him work a little longer and a little harder." How is that any different from business?

My favorite movies: Bob: "The Sixth Sense," "From Here to Eternity," and after reading all the reviews, I want to see "The Passion of the Christ" as soon as it is on TV. Juanita: I really enjoyed "The Sixth Sense." We don't go to movies often; we much prefer reading and keeping up with the latest news.

My favorite food: Bob: Butterscotch pie with graham cracker crust and real whipped cream topping. Juanita: I enjoy going to restaurants that know how to fix all kinds because I don't know how.

My favorite politicians: Bob: U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson, Ronald Reagan and Harry Truman. Juanita: Condoleezza Rice. She is a woman who has succeeded in a man's world and I think she's very smart.

Am I a morning person or a night person? Bob: Morning. Juanita: Morning, which stems from working. The best work is done early for the majority of people.

If I could change one thing about myself: Bob: I would not work so many hours in the business and be more active in the community and church. Juanita: I would have tried not to be such a workaholic. I love being outdoors and could have spent more effort doing that.

My most humbling experience: Bob: The fire in 1969 (that destroyed Purcell Tire's retread plant). Juanita: Calling on our largest customer and losing a major bid.

My goals in life: Bob: To be as instrumental as possible in growing this business and making a lot of weathly owners (Purcell Tire is now employee-owned.) Juanita: To make sure our ESOP does well, then to spend more time with my grandchildren.

A perfect evening for me: Bob: An evening with associates and/or customers.

The smartest thing I've ever done: Bob: Creating our ESOP and growing this company. Juanita: The most important decision one makes in life is who you choose to marry, so the smartest thing I've ever done was marry Bob.

Best advice my parents gave me: Bob: Be truthful, even when it hurts.

My advice to my children: Bob: Enjoy life, be happy and work hard. Juanita: Be loyal to your family and friends and be trustworthy. Do what is right, regardless of any pressure put on you.

My advice to any tire dealer starting out: Bob: Develop a good work ethic and build trust with your customers. 

The greatest thing about the tire industry today: Bob; Anyone can succeed if they are willing to sacrifice. A little luck helps, but success usually comes to those who will do what it takes to achieve their goals. The tire industry has been very good to my family and I. Juanita: The constant change. Changes used to occur every five to 10 years; now it's more like daily.