2005 Tire Dealer Humanitarian Award winner Steve Craven was playing rock 'n' roll and teaching guitar in the Philadelphia area when his parents asked him to come home and get involved in the family's tire dealership, Craven Tire Co. located in Baileys Crossroads, Va.
It was 1978 and the eldest son of Bill and Sally Craven made the life-altering career move to return to Virginia and join the one-outlet dealership, known as Craven Tire & Auto.
The senior Mr. Craven had started the business as a gas station in 1954 that was located literally on the Civil War battlefield of Bull Run. Appropriately, it was called Bull Run Esso Service Center. In 1960, when a highway cut off access to the business, he moved it to Bailey's Crossroads, Va., three miles from the Pentagon, where he expanded the retreading operation and began his association with Goodyear.
He had been running that business for 18 years when his son joined him. Two years later, in 1980, tragedy struck. Bill Craven died from colon cancer at age 60, leaving his then 27-year-old son in charge of the dealership. Steve Craven opened his second store in 1982, in Arlington, and today Craven Tire operates seven outlets, all in Virginia. Besides Arlington and Bailey's Crossroads, the dealership has stores in Burke, Fairfax, Merrifield, Sterling and Tysons Corner.
Besides Goodyear products, the dealership offers Michelin, Cooper, Toyo and Dunlop tires and is heavily involved in automotive service.
The dealership employs 105, including Mr. Craven's son Joey, 26, who serves as the manager of the Tysons Corner location and Joey's wife Rachel, Craven Tire's marketing director.
Mr. Craven and his wife Gay have four other children, Sarah, 24, Sandy, 22, Katie, 13 and Drew, 8.
Mr. Craven's brother Bill also is in the tire business. He owns his own dealership in Boca Raton, Fla., that also operates under the name Craven Tire & Auto.
As for Mr. Craven's guitar-playing days, they're not over. He plays in a praise band at his church and has a collection of 55 vintage guitars and 30 vintage amplifiers, a few of which he displays at the firm's tire outlets.