Ed Boyer put everything on the line when he purchased a struggling Goodyear tire store in downtown Plattsburgh in 1987 with the help of two business partners. Boyer was preparing to move his young family from Plattsburgh to Glens Falls to work in a Warren Tire store there. He had already sold his home in preparation for the move when the opportunity to purchase the Plattsburgh store came along.
Warren Tire Service Center, on the corner of Broad and Margaret Streets, is a sister store to the Glens Falls location. The business has grown and evolved in the more than 30 years that the Boyers have owned it. The Goodyear name is still emblazoned on the side of the building, but the business is not a franchise store although it does benefit from being a part of the dealer service network. All service work done at Warren Tire is under warranty through Goodyear’s national network.
Jennifer and Nathan Boyer – two of Ed Boyer’s children — help manage the business. Barb Boyer, Ed’s wife worked as a Registered Nurse until early 2021 when she joined the family business. Jennifer manages the front end of the business as well as central dispatch and human resources. She went to work at Warren Tire when a key employee was out for a medical issue and the computer system was being updated. “I expected the job to be temporary, but I just stayed,” she said. “It has been 20-years and I‘m still here.”
Warren Tire is “a retail store where we do all the service work,” Jennifer explained. “We do anything tire related that you can think of, as well as brakes, inspections and oil changes. Our automotive technician service part of the business has really grown because we’re not just seen as a tire store anymore,” she observed. “Our technicians are some of the smartest, brightest guys. They work on a wide variety of vehicles and diagnose, troubleshoot and problem solve all day long.”
Across the street from the service center was a CarQuest auto parts store that Ed Boyer purchased to support the business. In addition, the Boyers started a wholesale arm of the business about 10 years ago. “We’re a dealer for multiple rubber manufacturers,” Ed explained. A road sales team serves the state of Vermont, New York south to Ticonderoga and Saranac Lake and west to Malone and Potsdam. They have six drivers who make weekly deliveries for the wholesale side of the business.
The staff at Warren Tire works on passenger vehicles, trucks, farm vehicles, and does foam fillings. They also offer a 24-hour road service for tractor trailers. Road service technicians work on anything from a medium commercial tire, to a tractor trailer, to a big skidder tire. The road technicians are “very versatile,” Boyer explained, adding that there are not a lot of local businesses that offer that type of service.
The pandemic has made business more challenging, but in general, Jennifer said, the company has not had the same kind of stress as many other local businesses. “We have not had to change our hours. We have not had to close.”
Staffing and supply chain issues have been the biggest hurdles over the past 20 months. The end of October was the first time since August Warren had no employees out for COVID-quarantines or children in quarantine.
The supply of commercial tires, farm tires and tubes has been a challenge since early in the pandemic. “Supply for tires has been very, very tight,” Jennifer explained, but added, “I was shocked when they told us a couple of months ago that passenger truck tires were going to be in short supply.”
Customers sometimes ask for a specific tire for their vehicle and Warren’s is not always able to accommodate those requests. “There may be tires available, but it’s not exactly what the customer wants.”
This has put additional strain on the customer service and sales staff who are spending a lot more time researching tire alternatives for customers.
Warren Tire’s staff has always prided itself on not being pushy, but Jenn said she now finds herself in a position where she strongly encourages customers to “jump on it” to ensure availability. “For customers who like to drive specific tires because we live in the North Country and they feel safer, convincing them to go to a different product is challenging.”
The additional traction and safety provided by winter tires is beneficial on the often snow-covered and icy North Country roads, she emphasized. “Any winter tire, studded or not, is better than no winter tire.” The tight supply of tires has also driven up price. “There isn’t any inexpensive stock anymore.”
BEST GROUP OF PEOPLE
Warren Tire has a staff of 35; 85% have worked for the company for more than 10 years. The employees are a close-knit group that feels like family. According to Jennifer, “Every day we strive to make our customers happy. Our hope is that customers have a positive impression and that they feel safe and well taken care of.”
While the work environment is busy, and sometimes chaotic, Jennifer observed, “Employees must like working with people, have a positive attitude and be able to multitask. Nobody does just one thing around here.”
Ed Boyer credits his business success to his staff. “Honesty and customer service are the two values that are most important. I am proud of our top-notch staff.”
Warren Tire Service Center
13 Broad Street
Plattsburgh, NY 12901