The Small Business Administration (SBA) will honor Maine Commercial Tire Owners Jim McCurdy and Jim Lynch with the Maine Small Business Person of the Year award. McCurdy and Lynch will be among the nation’s most innovative entrepreneurs saluted in Washington, D.C. May 18-20, 2011.
“Jim and I were floored, we were not expecting this award,” said co-owner Jim McCurdy.
McCurdy and Lynch started Maine Commercial Tire in 1990, focusing exclusively on new truck tires, retreading and tire service.
In May 2000, Maine Commercial Tire became the first and only independent tire dealer in the U.S. to receive ISO 9002 certification.
“The Bandag process depends on individual workmanship. You can buy retreads anywhere, but our workers build our retreads to the highest standards,” said McCurdy. Perfecting the process helps the company achieve an incredibly low 0.4 percent tire failure rate. The facility retreads about 35,000 tires a year.
Today McCurdy and Lynch operate four locations along the I-95 corridor in Maine. The retreading facility, located at the Hermon headquarters, has six 65-foot bays and 13 acres of customer parking. Hermon is about 15 minutes west of Bangor.
“I believe this award is about not how we grew in the past 20 years, but how we held together during the last two,” explained McCurdy. “Jim and I made some tough decisions, but it was always for the greater good. After being aggressive in growing the business, it’s hardest to throttle back.
“When sales plateaued, our only choice was to cut operating expenses. It’s easy enough to get rid of the less productive employees, but it’s hard to lay off good people. They work hard and Jim and I rely on them to do the right thing for our customers.
“The respect we have for them is one reason we put together an employee group to recommend ways to reduce costs. Some ideas are small, but they add up to big bucks. And when you need to cut $100,000 a month in expenses, every bit helps,” said McCurdy.
The local SBA is hosting a party May 5 in Bangor in McCurdy and Lynch’s honor. The co-owners are inviting several long-time employees to celebrate with them.