ST. CLOUD, Minn. (April 2, 2014) — The St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce has presented Royal Tire Inc. with its 2014 St. Cloud Area Small Business “Family Owned Business of the Year” Award.
The award is presented to a business that has been passed from one generation to another and run successfully by the next generation for at least 15 years, according to the chamber.
Royal Tire was founded in 1948 and acquired by Roger Duininck in 1987. Its current owners, brothers Pat and Paul Duininck, provide retail and commercial tires, service and repairs, and operate two retreading plants in Minnesota.
Paul Duininck officially joined the business in 1979, followed by Pat Duininck in 1984. A slow transition process started, which gathered speed as Pat and Paul pushed for a more aggressive growth plan, the company said.
“We wanted to expand our territory at a quicker pace,” Pat Duininck said. “Dad wanted to take things a little more slowly and deliberately. So he decided it was time to sell us the business.”
The brothers proceeded to make three acquisitions within the first year.
“That was probably our biggest challenge, even now,” Pat Duininck said. “It put pressure on our people, it put pressure on our cash flow…it was really hard. But we worked through it.”
Today the company is about three times the size it was when the brothers took over, according to the dealership—growing from about 100 employees, 12 stores, and a business footprint in Central Minnesota to now employing 300 in 26 stores, and a growing footprint that extends from Rochester, Minn., to Williston, N.D., to Virginia, Minn.
The dealership tripled its sales and grew a fledgling wholesale business by 10 times, the company said. Royal Tire sold the wholesale unit in 2011. In 2013 it acquired its third manufacturing plant, located in Rochester, Minn.
According to company President Mick Pickens, what sets the dealership apart is the commitment the Duinincks have for the company to be part of the community and to respect both employees and customers.
“I know it sounds cliché,” Mr. Pickens said, “but we’re growing because of our employees and the communities we’re in. We really feel that our customers are our guests and members of our family. We’re repairing our neighbors’ cars; our friends’ cars.”
“Our role is to help our customers, keep them on the road, help our commercial customers reduce their costs and be more successful. When we do that right, it feels really good,” Pat Duininck said. “The other important thing we do is employ 300 people. Giving employees an opportunity to grow and be successful is a great result of being in business.”