Longtime customer Brad Lewis leaned over the counter at Family Tire in Schenectady, profusely thanking owner Bill Glock for his service and dedication and for going above and beyond for his customers for close to 30 years.
“I have been a customer of his for a long time,” Lewis said. “I found his shop did high-quality work. He is a good, trustworthy person to do business with.”
Glock, 66, nodded and humbly thanked Lewis.
“It’s customers like that who really helped us fulfill our mission,” Glock said. “We built the business on customer loyalty. I always say, we ask for the opportunity to earn not only your business but your trust as well.”
For 27 years, Glock earned the trust of his customers at his business, the Family Tire and Auto Service on State Street in downtown Schenectady. Glock recently announced he will be retiring, relocating and selling his business to Warren Tire, another family-owned and locally operated automotive service.
Glock grew up in Baltimore, Md., where his father was a business owner who had several gas stations throughout the area. When Glock was still in high school, he began working part-time for a Goodyear company-owned store in Baltimore as a tire changer. Glock quickly moved up the ranks, and his loyalty to Goodyear grew, too, he explained.
“My blood is blue, not red,” he joked.
Glock managed various company stores and in 1982 was promoted to Albany as a district manager. Glock remained a district manager until 1986, when Goodyear approached him about making another move. Glock decided it was time to open his own business.
“I ended up having a fantastic 21-year career with Goodyear,” he said. “I will forever really cherish the days of being associated with Goodyear.”
Glock has been in association with Goodyear for 48 years now, as his company exclusively sells Goodyear tires, he explained.
When Glock first met with Wayne Kellogg, the owner of Warren Tire, a few months ago, he said it was important for him to remain Goodyear-associated and to retain all of his employees. Glock has four employees.
“I have been blessed with great employees,” he said. “You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with, and that is one thing I have been really blessed with over the years.”
It did not take Glock and Kellogg long to come to an agreement.
“In about 45 minutes we put a deal together and shook hands,” he said. “I absolutely feel terrific about it.”
Although the name Family Tire will be coming off of the walls, Glock said he knows the integrity and customer service will remain.
“Knowing the family, knowing their stores and how they do business and everything, I just knew I would feel better if we put a deal together,” he said. “I think the fact that Warren Tire … that they think it is a worthwhile investment to come in and take this location over. I think that is a real positive sign for Schenectady and downtown Schenectady.”
Former Schenectady mayor Karen Johnson agreed.
“I think he [Glock] has left us an extraordinary gift,” she said. “He has pre-selected a company he believes has the same integrity and business motivation to take over.”
It has not always been a smooth road for Family Tire, though.
“Certainly there has been tough economic times in downtown Schenectady,” Glock said. “It wasn’t too long after I bought the store that almost everything started to tank — it got to some point where things were really difficult to keep the doors open.”
When layoffs and cutbacks hit downtown businesses, they hurt Family Tire, too.
“He has stuck with us through thick and thin,” Johnson said.
Glock credits his business survival to a few things, one being businesses like MVP Health Care coming to the area.
“I’ve often said — and I will give credit to them totally — the day that MVP put that shovel in the ground for that building across the street, that is the day I knew we would be OK,” he said.
Glock’s commitment to Schenectady went far beyond Family Tire.
“He really has cared about the city,” Johnson said. “He didn’t sit back and complain. He tried to make it better.”
Glock served on the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation board for seven years, including stints as president and chairman.
“Although it was a lot of hard work,” he said. “It was very personally rewarding.”
Glock also served on the Salvation Army Advisory Board and the executive board for the Chamber of Commerce.
“If you have a business in a community,” he said. “You need to be a part of the community.”
Warren Tire will most likely take over Family Tire at the end of the month.
Glock said he will miss his employees and customers the most but is looking forward to retirement. His wife will also retire this fall. They are moving to Ocean City, Md., with their two golden retrievers.
“We’ve worked our lives to have this happen,” he said. “We are going out on top right now.”