After six years of working for others in the tire business, Kevin Neal of Wallowa is striking out on his own. Kevin's Tire Shop opened July 14 in the shop located at Henderson Fuel, 402 E. Fifth Street along the truck route in Wallowa.
Neal bought equipment and inventory from Goebel's Tire Factory of Wallowa which pared its business back to being a service station and convenience store July 1. He had been working for Goebel's for the past 2 1/2 years and before that for 3 1/2 years at Moffit Bros. Tires of Lostine which went out of business.
The new proprietor has worked with Wallowa County Business Facilitator Myron Kirkpatrick and has developed a three-year business plan. The plan had to come together quickly, said Neal, because he was only informed in mid-June of Goebel's owner Marc Burns's decision to drop his association with the Tire Factory Store.
Though operating as an independent dealer, Neal will carry any light truck and car tire offered through The Tire Factory. He also will work on shocks and brakes, and plus do lube jobs and change oil filters.
Opening business as a one-man operation, Neal anticipates hiring help when the snow first comes in the early winter when tire stores are at their busiest. He anticipates offering a mobile service with a truck equipped with an air compressor but, because of his one man status, will only be able initially to go out on service calls outside of his normal 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. working hours. He anticipates working those hours Monday through Saturday, leaving as early as noon on Saturday if he is not busy.