Weber City Discount Tire
Tim Ray and the Weber City Discount Tire staff are a team. “We call ourselves Team Weber City Discount Tire,” Tim says. “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’ — we wouldn’t succeed without each other.” Early on, Tim added the Mount Empire SBDC to his team, a decision he calls one of the best he’s made.
Retired after 20 years in law enforcement, Tim decided to open a tire business with the assistance of his relatives Donald and Mary Billings of Kingsport, TN. The building previously housed a tire business.
It was 2019, shortly before the pandemic started, and Tim was ready to get his tire business on the road. First, he decided to contact the SBDC. “I’m really glad I did,” he says. “Tim Blankenbecler at the SBDC helped me do a business plan, and the new center director, Becki O’Quinn, helped a lot with the Economic Development Authority (EDA) loan process.” The $25,000 EDA loan was used to purchase a heavy-duty truck and tire changer. “It was a needed piece of equipment,” Tim notes.
With help from the SBDC, Team Weber City was ready to roll. Unfortunately, so was the COVID pandemic. “We were shut down a week and a half before they decided we were an essential business,” Tim recalls. With safety precautions in place, the tire team was back the next day, servicing commercial trucks, farm tractors, and emergency vehicles. “Essential business doesn’t stop in a pandemic,” Tim says. “We saw a little decrease, but thanks to the SBDC and the EDA we were able to keep going.”
The SBDC continued to notify Tim when funding became available. “We’re currently talking to Becki O’Quinn about loan funds to purchase an adjacent building with five additional auto bays and an alignment machine,” Tim adds. That alignment machine, Tim explains, will bring jobs to Weber City, no small feat in a town of 1,300. Along with alignment services, future plans include adding a service truck. “Both will grow our business and bring money and jobs to the county,” Tim says. “The more people we put to work, the better we are.”
Tim credits the SBDC with the growth of his business to date. “The SBDC’s help with a business plan allowed us to purchase necessary equipment,” Tim explains. “Having that heavy-duty tire changer was a good boost coming out of COVID — and just in time for hay season. Tim also credits his manager, Eric Sawyers, with his excellent professional customer service and management skills.
Tim recommends the SBDC with an enthusiastic thumbs-up. “I hope the SBDC is around for many years to come,” he concludes. “Their consultants always give the best advice and assistance. Small business owners really need the SBDC.”