Stark County family business is one of the largest independent tire dealers in the nation; has sold Firestone tires longer than any other dealer.
It will come as no surprise to many Stark County residents that Ziegler Tire, headquartered at 4150 Millennium Blvd. SE in Massillon, will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year.
The recipe for success today is the same as when Oliver Ziegler founded the company in 1919 — work hard, offer quality products and services at fair prices, and take good care of customers.
That philosophy has seen Ziegler Tire through two world wars, the Great Depression and numerous recessions. And, by all indications, more good things are on the horizon.
Oliver’s younger brothers, Harold Sr., Herbert and Norman, joined the business shortly after it got up and running.
They helped make Oliver’s vision a reality. Now, second, third and fourth generations of Zieglers are keeping that vision alive.
The second generation includes Herbert’s son, Bill (who’s president), Harold’s son, Harold Jr., and Norman’s daughter, Sally Ziegler Kitson, (who serves on the board). Harold’s son, Jack, is now retired.
The third generation includes Jack’s son, John Jr., and Bill’s son, Patrick. John III is the only fourth-generation Ziegler family member in the business.
“Uncle Oliver operated a tavern in Dover before getting into the tire business,” Bill said. “When Prohibition hit, he knew he needed to get into another line of business. That’s when he got involved with Firestone.”
Ziegler Tire was one of the first retailers of Firestone tires, and it’s the longest-tenured Firestone retailer in the nation.
“Firestone was the only brand we sold until the 1970s,” Bill said. “Today, we sell Bridgestone, Continental, General, Michelin, Yokohama, and many more brands.”
The company’s first location was on the corner of Second and DeWalt in Canton. By 1927, there were four stores, each operated by a different brother.
Today, Ziegler has 28 locations in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The family is always on the lookout for acquisition opportunities.
While most visible, the retail tire locations represent the smallest portion of the company. Ziegler also operates a wholesale tire business, Mighty Tire. The largest business segment is commercial truck tires.
“If it’s round and rubber, we sell it,” said John Jr. “We sell tires for everything from wheelbarrows to earthmovers, and just about everything in between.”
The largest tire sold by Ziegler is a 51-inch loader tire that retails for more than $50,000 each. Ziegler provides service and preventive maintenance for those tires, and all tires it sells.
The company has more than 100 service vehicles on the road, and dozens of delivery vehicles including semi-trucks, box trucks and pickup trucks.
“During World War II, rubber was at a premium,” said Harold Jr. “So, Firestone began making everything from bicycles to TVs to washing machines to refrigerators. Ziegler Tire sold it all.”
During the war years, the company also got into tire retreading. Today, Ziegler operates two retread plants, one in Massillon and one near Cincinnati, and is one of the top retread companies in the U.S.
“We retread about 160,000 large truck tires annually,” Bill said. “That results in a savings of 16 million gallons of oil that would be used in the tire manufacturing process.”
Flipping through a book with historical images of the company brought back fond memories for Bill, Harold Jr. and John Jr.
“We had one of the first outdoor air pumps, and we were one of the first dealers to have a truck with an air compressor,” said Harold Jr.
The company also sold oil and gas at one time.
Today Ziegler Tire is one of the top 50 independent tire dealers, and the 16th largest truck tire dealer, in the United States. Bill Ziegler has even been named Modern Tire Dealer’s “Dealer of the Year.”
The Ziegler family gives back to the community through the Herbert Ziegler Foundation. The foundation has supported organizations including the Humane Society, Pathway Caring for Children, Walsh University, and Central Catholic, Massillon and Perry schools.
Ziegler Tire is constantly on the lookout for good team members to become part of the family.
“We take pride in working hard and doing what we say we’re going to do,” Bill said. “We look for those characteristics in the people we hire. Many longtime employees have significantly impacted our business.”
The foundation is set for yet another 100 years of success in Stark County.
While things may look a little different in the tire business by 2119, it’s a safe bet that Ziegler Tire’s sights will still be set on Oliver’s original vision.