Flynn’s Tire & Auto Service is proud to announce that Tire Review Magazine has named them the top shop in North America! Tire Review Magazine is the industry’s leading trade magazine and the “Top Shop Award” is the tire and auto repair industry’s most prestigious award.
Tire Review bases its Top Shop Award on customer service and retention, training and education, merchandising and promotion, professional standards and conduct, innovation, appearance, business management, community involvement and business growth. Flynn’s Tire & Auto Service was selected as the number one independent tire dealer in North America for 2014-2015 because it epitomizes these key attributes and values of the tire and auto repair industry.
The Tire Review “Top Shop Award,” presented by Ammco/Coats, seeks to honor the “best of the best” independent tire dealers in the U.S. and Canada. “The Top Shop Awards were established to spotlight and recognize the independent tire dealers that best exemplify the attributes and values we stress with every issue of Tire Review,” said Jim Smith, editor of Tire Review. “The Top Shop Award program is truly an amazing experience, and every year tire dealers across this continent reaffirm that this is the most prestigious honor any active tire dealership can earn. What could be better than having one of the most respected independent dealers in the U.S. – and one that is celebrating its 50th anniversary – as our eighth winner. Congratulations to our deserving winner Flynn’s Tire & Auto Service, and a tip of our hat to our three equally remarkable finalists. The entire industry should take heart in knowing that the level of professionalism, dedication and innovation continues to rise among North American tire dealers.”
Joe Flynn III, President, Flynn’s Tire Group remarks, “Receiving this prestigious award during the year of our 50th anniversary gives us all the more reason to celebrate! I am proud of every one of our associates for their excellent work that has contributed to having Flynn’s Tire chosen as the “best of the best’ tire dealer in all of North America. This award is something that we all can be proud of because it reflects what we do every day to make our customers number one with us. I’m sure that my father and grandfather who started the business back in 1964, are smiling down on us.”
From Humble Beginnings
On October 5th 1964 John Flynn Sr. and sons Joe Flynn and RP Flynn, and Ted Bilak started what is now known as Flynn’s Tire Group. At that time they named the company Urra Tire Company. They chose the name Urra for the business because it came from the old Irish language, Gaelic, which reflected their ethnic background. They also chose it because Urra meant “dependable” and they felt that in order to be successful customers needed to feel that you were dependable. And so it was with this mixture of proud ethnic heritage and strong work ethics that Urra Tires began.
Flynn’s very first store was located in downtown Sharon Pennsylvania in a rented building that had no indoor facilities to work on cars. Tires had to be removed from the vehicles outside in the driveway behind the building no matter what the weather conditions were like. The Flynn’s had no floor jacks when they first started so they would have to use the jack that came with the vehicle that they were putting the tires on. There was no tire balancing equipment there either. So tires were balanced by taking them down the street to the nearby gas station and balanced using their equipment and then brought back and mounted on the vehicle. It was through this kind of resourcefulness and determination that the foundation of this fifty-year old business was built on.
This was indeed a business started on a shoestring budget. That meant hard work and long hours. And with the help of Mary Jo Flynn, John Flynn Senior’s daughter, it all started to come together.
Because of the lack of capital it was difficult to carry a large inventory of tires. Back then new tires came wrapped in paper. The Flynn’s would reuse the paper they took off of new tires and use it to wrap the used tires and then place those on the display racks among the new tires so it looked like they had many tires in stock. But typically they would only order tires when a customer wanted them. Then they would pick them up that night and have ready to mount them on the customer’s vehicle the next day. These were hard times for this new business but their will to succeed, ingenuity and free family labor got them through the first trying years.
In 1966 the founders decided that they needed an indoor facilities to better serve their customers. The only building they found suitable and affordable for them was located in a rural area 5 miles from the nearest town in either direction. At that time there was literally nothing around for miles but farms, fields and woods.
But the Flynn’s had the belief that the key to a successful business was not necessarily “location, location, location” as everyone in the business world said. In their minds what makes a business successful was “people, people, people.” They felt that no matter how great a location is it would be just another mediocre business if it doesn’t have the right people to staff it. But if you have the right people who work as a team and treat each other with respect and go out of their way to do the right things for their customers, then the customers will come to you no matter where you are located.
In 1966 Ted Bilak left the company and the remaining Flynn trio moved the store to the rural location. However their theory didn’t prove to be as easy as they thought. Most of the problem was that people didn’t know they were there. Advertising was expensive and not in the budget. Cars drove past their store everyday but didn’t stop because they didn’t notice anything different about the building they had moved into.
So the Flynn trio decided to become creative. They began to paint the building a different color every month to catch the eye of the passerby’s. They would put up tents and stack tires out by the road so people passing by knew they sold tires. And they would stay open until 9 pm 6 days a week because they didn’t want anyone to drive past all the other tire dealers to get to their door and find it not open.
And it worked. People became curious and would stop in just to ask questions. They would ask about the odd name Urra Tires. They would ask why the color of the building kept changing. The Flynn’s would tell them that they would do whatever it took to get the people to walk in so that they could meet them and shake their hand and ask them for their future tire business. And soon those “curious people” became “satisfied customers”. And they were so satisfied that they would tell others of what great service they received from the Flynn’s. And the business grew and became successful.
The next store opened in Kittanning, PA. This location also met with the same success as the first, because of the people who worked there. Flynn’s reputation for quality service spread, and so did the company.
The Flynn’s then changed the name from Urra Tires to Flynn’s Tire & Auto Service. In the years that followed they opened stores in Meadville, Pennsylvania, Kent, Dover, and Orrville, Ohio. And then began making acquisitions of other small to medium sized tire shops in Pittsburgh, Butler and Clarion, Pennsylvania and Youngstown and Austintown, Ohio. Today there are 19 Flynn’s Tire & Auto Service locations. Joe Durkoske is the General Manager of these retail locations.
Throughout Flynn’s growth and expansion one common element connects it all, quality people doing the right things. All service associates are highly trained not only by nationally accredited entities such as the Tire Industry Association (TIA), National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), but also by their own in-house training programs.
Joe Flynn III sums up the vision that his father, John Joseph Flynn Jr. and grandfather, John Joseph Flynn Sr. had of Flynn’s fifty years ago as, “The goal of the Flynn’s Tire has been to have the right people doing the right things all of the time. We believe that in every situation, with every decision, in every position, we should do the right thing. If you don’t know, ask someone who does know and once you learn it, teach it.”
Mr. Flynn continues, “That’s how you become great! The right people, doing the right things is how we started in business and how we will grow the business in the future. At Flynn's, it is up to each individual everyday to evaluate how they can help make Flynn's the best company we can be. Each associate at Flynn’s helps to define who we are everyday by doing the right thing for our customers.”
From those humble beginnings Flynn’s Tire Group has flourished. Although two of the original founding members have passed, the patriarch John Joseph Flynn in 1977 and his son John Joseph (Joe) Flynn Jr. in November of 2002, the vision remains strong. The sudden passing of Joe Flynn Jr. put the reins of the family business in the hands of Joe's two children, his son John Joseph (Joe) Flynn III, daughter Tania Flynn Warminski and his brother RP Flynn. RP’s children Anne Flynn-Pulaski and James Flynn are also active members in the family business. With the inspiration and dreams Joe Flynn II and his father in mind, the family business moved forward.
And today the same principles that started the company still apply. Flynn’s is known for being friendly, honest, having fair pricing and quality products. And that’s what Flynn's is built on. Capable people with honest work ethic who truly want to do the right things.
Perhaps Flynn's mission statement says it best: "The mission of Flynn's Tire Group is to serve our customers and community more effectively than anyone else can serve them. We strive to provide the friendliest and most efficient service possible, putting our customers first before anything else, and recognizing that our Company must merit and earn the respect and loyalty of our customers."
For more information contact Terry Polonsky, Director of Marketing and Advertising for Flynn's Tire. Phone 724-906-8181. Or email email@example.com.