BATON ROUGE, La. (June 22, 2006) — Charles R. “Bob” Potter, owner and CFO of Area Wholesale Tire Co. Inc., died June 9 at Baton Rouge General Medical Center-Bluebonnet. He was 70.
Mr. Potter and his father, the late C.S. Potter, got started in the tire business in 1961 borrowing $25,000 to buy the assets of a Dayton Tire & Rubber Co. warehouse in Baton Rouge, which was known as Dayton Tire Co. of Lousiana Inc. Dayton Tire was in the process of being sold to Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. and was closing its warehouses across the country. Mr. Potter continued his job at Texaco Inc., in Fort Worth, Texas, where he was involved in dealer training. In 1965, he left Texaco and joined his dad in managing the dealership. In 1970, they renamed the business Area Wholesale Tire.
The company, which started out with three employees, now has more than 125 and serves customers in Louisiana, Mississipi, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas through seven distribution centers in Louisiana and Texas and three associate centers in Texas and New Mexico. The wholesaler's corporate headquarters, wholesale and mixing warehouses and retread plant are in Baton Rouge. As of 2005 annual revenue had grown to more than $73.8 million.
Mr. Potter's son, W.B. “Billy” Potter took over as president of the dealership in 2003.
He said his father was still involved in the business and had no plans to retire.
“He just kind of sat in the background but was still involved on a day to day basis” until he was hospitalized in late December, Billy Potter said. “He liked to open the mail everyday and see all the bills and all the money that was coming in.”
The younger Mr. Potter said Area Wholesale Tire will cotinue to grow and move full speed forward.
Mr. Potter received a bachelor's degree in business administration from Texas Christian University. He then served eight years of reserve duty in the U.S. Navy before being honorably discharged. His 50th wedding anniversary with wife Mary Frances Greely would have been July 28.
Mr. Potter was inducted into the Louisiana Tire Dealers Hall of Fame in 2001. He served on the board of directors of Great American Corp., the former National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association and Sure Tire Co. as well as on the executive council of Sure Tire and on the distributor councils for the Remington and Mastercraft tire brands and Long Mile tread rubber. Mr. Potter also was involved in several business and civic organizations.
He is survived by his wife, Mary; his sister, Marion Giardina of Westwego, La.; daughters Debbie Terrell and Cherie Cornett of Baton Rouge; son William B. Potter of Baton Rouge; seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.