AKRON (Sept. 24, 2001) — In the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., Tire Business contacted a number of dealers and tire shop employees across the nation for their reaction to the events, as well as their thoughts on what this means for the economy and the country in general. The following are some of those comments, edited for the sake of brevity:
“As long as the economy bounces back, this business will come back pretty much in line with that. Seems like the tire business does pretty well in a recession because people are holding onto their cars and repairing them.”
Trey Cook, Savannah Tire & Rubber Co., Savannah
“It's a numbness amongst the masses. Everybody is in a state of grief and disbelief and anger. It was an attack not only on our soil, but on our soul.”
Frank Boyle, A-1 Certified Auto Center, Jersey City, N.J.
“I was horrified. Out of our conference room window stood the two towers. They loomed so large, it looked like you could touch them. Now it's just smoke. Nobody will ever forget what they saw.”
John Boyle, president, Englewood Tire Distributors, Englewood, N.J.
“Hopefully we go to war and nuke these (SOBs). That's my opinion. If I was younger, I'd go.”
Roger Dombroske, president, Mill Street Tire, Inc., Reno, Nev.
“There's going to be those who want to bail out (of financial markets). The people who want to make a little easy cash, now's the time to put (money) in the stock market.”
Dave Ronda, Ronda Tire, Grand Rapids, Mich.
“It's slow as hell. Wednesday (Sept. 12) we managed to come in. I don't know how, but we got here. We got two phone calls.... People are afraid to drive. And there's not much access into the city to begin with.”
Bill Rienieris, Wholesale Tire Co., Manhattan (N.Y.)
“It was pretty chaotic. It was definitely crazy. I got phone calls from retired employees and family members saying, 'Get the heck out, it's going to be a major catastrophe.'...At least in time, people are going to need tires, just like people need a place to live and food to eat.”
Richard Colbum, Jimmy's Tire & Auto Center, Washington, D.C.
“We need to do what we've got to do and get it over with. We need to annihilate whoever was involved.... The United States needs to retaliate and they need to retaliate strongly.”
John T. Kauffman, Kauffman Tire, College Park, Ga.
“I imagine the industry as a whole hasn't been hit from the air traffic being grounded....I just kept saying, 'Why are people buying tires right now?' Apparently life goes on.”
Larry Lesieur, Maynard & Lesieur Inc., Nashua, NH
“I'm fixin' to paint a sign on the back window of my pickup truck: 'Adios, bin Laden'.”
Norm Rhea, executive director, Louisiana Independent Tire Dealers Association