Leading a century-old tire company into the future
John Ziegler Jr. has rubber in his veins. The third generation of a 102-year-old tire company, John Jr. grew up breaking tires at his family’s Ziegler Tire retail stores in Canton, Ohio. After graduating from college, he worked for a short time at a Firestone store, but the family business, which claims to be one of the earliest and oldest Firestone dealers, recalled him.
A jack of all trades, John Jr. has worked in the retail, trade and wholesale sectors of the growing business of Ziegler Tire, and now serves as Vice President of the company. Over the years, Ziegler Tire has grown to include three wholesale centers, two retreading plants, 16 shopping centers and seven retail outlets.
After growing up in the business, John Jr. has plenty of stories about Ziegler Tire’s struggles and triumphs and has met some greats in the tire industry along the way, including his friend Johnny g. In this episode of Johnny g & Friends, sponsored by Firestone, John Jr. takes a look at:
- Why he didn’t return to the family business right after graduating from college (1:40)
- Keys to Ziegler Tire’s Longevity in the Tire Industry, Advice He Received Generations Before Him, and What Wisdom He Passed On to His Son (3:59)
- His mentors over the years and the people who shaped his life in the tire industry including his cousin Bill, president of Ziegler Tire, his uncle Harold who took him to IndyCar, the guys from Grismer Tire and the “Le Tabernacle du Golf” tire dealer group (7:23)
- Challenges Ziegler Tire has faced in its 102-year history, including surviving the Great Depression, and how these challenges shaped its culture and DNA (12:32)
- Memories Johnny g and John Jr. have shared over the years of the âGamaramaâ at the New Orleans Superdome, Johnny G’s Chicago Bears coat, trips to Japan, the Monaco Grand Prix experience and IndyCar races (15:17)
- How Ziegler Tire became a Firestone dealer with one of Harvey Firestone’s first sellers signing brothers Oliver and Harold Ziegler as dealers in the early 1900s (19:33)
- Why Ziegler Tire stayed with the Firestone brand and why he didn’t wear another brand until the 1970s (21:40)