Town Fair Founder Neil Mellen Dies

Jan. 10, 2024

Neil Mellen, who founded Town Fair Tire in 1967, has died. He was 90 years old.

Born to Etta and Mack Mellen in 1934, Neil attended New York University while working at his father's auto parts store.

In 1967, Neil opened his first Town Fair Tire store in Fairfield, Conn. Under his direction, Town Fair Tire grew to 115 stores throughout New England.

According to his obituary, "the success of the company was Neil and his management team. Neil was a visionary with keen intellect - a man of uncommon compassion and integrity. He was one of the most unusual businessmen, who wedded success with philanthropy. Neil had a passion for helping underprivileged individuals, families and students desiring education; people in need of medical care; and wrongfully convicted individuals."

Mellen "was responsible for numerous scholarships (and) anonymous gifts. Countless educational institutions, medical centers, charities and individuals have been touched by his generosity. Neil loved his employees and he made every effort to help them learn and thrive in business and life."

In a statement, Mavis Tire Express Services Corp. acknowledged Mellen's work and leadership.

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Town Fair Tire’s Founder and President, Neil Mellen, and we extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.

"Neil was an industry visionary and touched the lives of many people during his long and successful life and career. He was also an incredible role model for business leaders given his strong work ethic, passion for serving customers, desire to foster the careers of his employees, and commitment to giving back to the community. These remarkable qualities permeate Town Fair Tire and make clear why it continues to be a highly-regarded organization, nearly six decades after its first store was opened.

"We are grateful for Neil’s partnership, mentorship, leadership, and countless other contributions since Mavis and Town Fair merged in 2020. We are confident that Town Fair Tire will continue to maintain its lasting legacy of customer satisfaction and high-quality service under the leadership of Mike Mellen, Mike Barbaro, Kathy Tutino and the management team.”

Preceded by his daughter, Nancy Mellen, he is survived his wife, Diane Mellen; his daughter, Debbie Mellen Wegeleben and husband, Scott; his brother, Michael Mellen. 

As an expression of sympathy, donations may be sent to Covenant House, non-profit for youth experiencing homelessness, which is located at 460 West 41st St., New York, N.Y. 10036; Carpinteria Arts Center, a nonprofit helping a diverse population from youth to seniors through the arts and education, which is at 865 Linden Ave., Carpinteria, Calif. 93013; or St. Martin de Porres Academy, a middle school academy for underprivileged young people at 208 Columbus Ave., New Haven, Conn. 06519.