Modern Tire Dealer

MAY 2019

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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M T D M a y 2 0 1 9 40 L e i p o l d T i r e D ennis Leipold has emphasized simplicity since he started Leipold Tire Co. Inc. in 1975. "All throughout the years I've used the KISS philosophy, which stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid, and it's proven well for me!" he says. While many big box stores, car dealerships and national chains are offering bumper-to- bumper service, Leipold prefers to specialize in tire, chassis and brake work. "Having a smaller menu allows us to focus on what we do," he says. "We've got an ad that says our whole business revolves around tires, and basically that's where we confine ourselves, right to the wheel and axel and suspension." By keeping his focus on tires, Leipold, who runs two store locations in Northeast Ohio, says he can dedicate the very best products and services to his customers. "We do the right things right," he says. FOUR DECADES OF TIRES Leipold got his start in the tire business while in high school working for a local tire shop during summer breaks. Aer graduation he enrolled at the University of Akron but dropped out to go back into the tire industry. "I started off in engineering, and I became aware that it wasn't for me so I took a general selection of business courses," he explains. "During… my third year, I dropped out midterm and it was early enough to get my money back. I had to be signed out by every professor, and two of those guys told me what a big mistake I was making and what a failure I was going to be." Leipold says that was motivation for him to start his own business. He chose tires because that what he knew the most about, and he had heard it was a strong industry. "Back when I was really starting out I remember someone telling me it was a recession- proof business," he says. "People always have to have tires, and it's proven to be that way. "Sometimes recessions are our best years because people aren't replacing their cars. Going back to 1975 and going through many economic ups and downs, it has proven to be pretty much recession-proof. e only limit is yourself. I've seen a lot of places go out of business, and it wasn't because of the market. It was because of bad management." Leipold started his business in May 1975 and was joined by his brother, Ken, later that summer. e pair rented an old two-bay Texaco gas station in Stow, a suburb of Akron. "Business was very slow, but back then everything was very inexpensive," he said. "My overhead was $75 a day and that covered everything." As business picked up, Leipold purchased a semi-trailer and parked it next to the build- ing to use as a warehouse. He purchased a second location in neighboring Cuyahoga Falls in 1983, and in 1986 he moved his Stow store from the Texaco station to the location where it sits today. "In '87 and '88 we grew and expanded both buildings. I was adding warehouse space and service space and gradually increased the staff from just my brother in 1975 to currently 26 people." WORKING WITH WHAT YOU'VE GOT Today, both store locations sit on suburban Shana O'Malley-Smith By Dennis Leipold says the way you do busi- ness is more important than numbers. Inventory space is limited at Leipold Tire, both by design and necessity. "To try and have on hand what could come in the door, I would need a 90,000-square-foot ware- house to cover every potential call," says President Dennis Leipold. LEIPOLD TIRE FOCUSES ON TIRES, CHASSIS SERVICE AND BRAKE WORK Keeping it simple

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