Tire Industry Hall of Fame Spotlight: Joe DePaolis

Nov. 2, 2022

New Tire Industry Hall of Fame inductee Joe DePaolis took a small, three-store dealership in western New York and turned it into one of the largest tire dealerships in the United States during its time.

DePaolis, who died this past September at the age of 90, was the longtime CEO and president of Rochester, N.Y.-based Johnny Antonelli Tire Co. Inc.

He joined the company in 1968, when it was struggling. Under his direction, the dealership had grown to 28 locations by 1989, making it the 21st largest independent tire dealership in the U.S. at the time. (DePaolis became Johnny Antonelli Tire’s president and CEO in 1977.)

Johnny Antonelli Tire also included two commercial truck tire centers, a retread plant and a wholesale arm.

An innovative marketer, DePaolis created the chain’s “Cash and Carry Tire Sale,” where customers received a sale price if they paid in cash and carried their tires out of the store.

He also considered auto service to be a necessity, when many other independent tire dealerships still derived their primary income from tire sales.

On the distribution side, he introduced twice-a-day deliveries at Johnny Antonelli Tire – an uncommon practice at the time.

DePaolis served as president of the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association (NTDRA), the precursor to today’s Tire Industry Association (TIA), in 1988 and served on the NTDRA’s board.

During his time at the association, the NTDRA published a 370-page book, “A Practical Approach to Improving a Tire Dealer’s Profits,” which helped countless tire dealers.

DePaolis was inducted into the Tire Industry Hall of Fame earlier this week during an event sponsored by TIA.

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