But some might say Mr. Kellogg deserves the break after spending the better part of his career as the guy known for turning struggling stores around.
A dealership is born
Mr. Kellogg started in the tire industry when he was 16, working at a local gas station owned by Arkley Mastro. "I used to sell tires there as a kid, and he would laugh because I would call him at home on nights and weekends and say, 'Can I do this? Can I do that? Can I do this?'" Mr. Kellogg recalled.
After a three-year stint with the U.S. Army, Mr. Kellogg bounced between jobs, spending time as a milkman and a factory employee before Mr. Mastro called him one day with a new job opportunity.
"He had a Firestone store in Scotia (N.Y.) and was going to open a store in Glens Falls (N.Y.), and he wanted to know if I'd be interested in being the service manager," he said. "I went from service manager to salesman to (store) manager, and then he died and I became the general manager and ran the two stores for the family."
That relationship lasted until Mr. Mastro's children decided to sell the stores to Johnny Antonelli, former pitcher for the New York and San Francisco Giants, who was a major Firestone distributor and dealership owner in the area. The new ownership approached Mr. Kellogg about staying on board, but he decided it was time for a change.
"I looked into business opportunities, and there was an ad for a Goodyear franchise," he said. "So I kind of wrote a resume. I didn't have any money or anything, and a Goodyear area sales manager contacted me and we started talking.
"I said, 'You know, I really don't have any money.' He hooked me up with a guy who was in the business who was a second-generation guy at the time," Mr. Kellogg said. That man, Michael Canavan, became his business partner for the next decade.
After preparing a pro-forma statement, Goodyear gave Messrs. Canavan and Kellogg a credit line of about $100,000 to get their new business off the ground. The outlet was built originally in the 1940s and was located on Warren Street in Warren County, which is where the name Warren Tire came from, Mr. Kellogg said.
The original owner of the dealership had been doing some state contract and commercial business but hadn't focused much on retail sales, Mr. Kellogg said.
"My background was retail, and I'd done some wholesale and some commercial. As I came over, I moved the company towards retail," he said. "He had a little bit of a commercial base and state contracts. Put those all together, and we really did pretty well. It was really successful from day one."
So successful in fact that three years later Goodyear came back to Mr. Kellogg with an offer to take on another location in Clifton Park, N.Y.
"The rent was really high at the time," Mr. Kellogg said. "It was $6,000 a month and people just wouldn't look at it. I said, 'What the heck, I'll take a shot at it.' I never made much money as a store manager, and I was doing pretty well with my new partner, so we took on that store and it was a huge success."
Goodyear soon came to them with another location in Latham, N.Y., with an owner who was looking to sell. Warren Tire bought out the store along with its inventory and retained the employees.