Commercial Tire Shifts to 100% Employee Ownership

May 13, 2021

Meridian, Idaho-based Commercial Tire Inc., one of the largest independent commercial tire dealerships in the United States, is now 100% employee-owned.

“With 45 locations across the Northwest, this move to an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) business model marks a pivotal shift” in the dealership’s 50-plus-year history, according to Commercial Tire officials.

“It’s always been a major concern of mine - how do I position the company to be in the best place to take care of my family, the employees who helped us get here and our loyal customers?” says Bob Schwenkfelder, founder and CEO of Commercial Tire, which is the 20th largest independent commercial tire dealership in the U.S., according to MTD's 2021 Top 25 Commercial Tire Dealers list.

“Selling the company could create unwanted change and instability for the people we care about. This transition is about leaving a legacy for our employees and in our communities that will have a lasting, positive impact.”

According to a recent Commercial Tire statement, an ESOP “creates an employee retirement trust for a privately-owned company that holds all company stock. Employees accrue this stock over time as a benefit, effectively transferring ownership. Shifting to an ESOP framework has been shown to significantly improve job stability and business performance - benefiting employees, customers and communities. 

“Research and surveys conducted by the non-profit National Center for Employee Ownership found that ESOP participants have 2.2 times as much in retirement plans and 20% more financial assets overall compared to non-ESOP companies.”

“We know this move will enhance our ability to recruit and retain great people - now employee-owners - to our growing company,” says Schwenkfelder. “In turn, the service we provide to our customers will only get even better.”

Adrian Rodriguez, director of retail sales and marketing for Commercial Tire, adds that the dealership’s customers are excited about the development, too.

“It’s something that I think will be of even greater benefit to our customers. We’ve seen a lot of great responses from our current customers and potentially news ones.”

About the Author

Mike Manges | Editor

Mike Manges is Modern Tire Dealer’s editor. A 25-year tire industry veteran, he is a three-time International Automotive Media Association award winner and holds a Gold Award from the Association of Automotive Publication Editors. Mike has traveled the world in pursuit of stories that will help independent tire dealers move their businesses forward. Before rejoining MTD in September 2019, he held corporate communications positions at two Fortune 500 companies and served as MTD’s senior editor from 2000 to 2010.