AKRON (May 28, 2015) — In the last several weeks the tire industry has lost a couple of greats with the deaths of Francois Michelin, 88, on April 29 and then tire dealer Paul Zurcher, 90, on May 7.
In Tire Business' editorial in the May 11 issue we called the head of Group Michelin an “industry icon.” It wouldn't be hyperbole to also denote Mr. Zurcher one of the giants of the tire industry. In fact, in 2008 he was one of four tire industry “legends” selected and interviewed as part of a special issue as Tire Business marked its 25th anniversary.
Like Mr. Michelin, Mr. Zurcher was driven by a “passion” — for life, family, business. As founder of Zurcher Tire/Best-One Tire & Service, his life embodied the word, especially as he set out in 1948 to realize his dream of owning an automotive service station, opening Zurcher Tire Inc. with only $300 in his pocket and the will to succeed.
And succeed he did. Over the years, he formed partnerships with many others in the tire industry, likely living his dream through them by helping them open tire and service locations. That business strategy of nurturing others evolved in 1999-2000 into the “Best-One Tire & Service” dealership concept that has since grown to more than 250 locations throughout the central and eastern U.S.
But developing business wasn't all he was about. Mr. Zurcher was committed to his local community and philanthropic efforts throughout his lifetime. He also was named to the Tire Industry Association (TIA) Hall of Fame in 1999 by TIA's predecessor trade group, the Tire Association of North America, for his accomplishments.
Perhaps it's best to take to heart the words of the man himself as he spoke to Tire Business for a video that ran on our website for our 25th anniversary.
In it, Mr. Zurcher pointed out that “as I look at business, and as I look at the past and the future, I think probably the things that really matter are service, leadership, people and values — I think those are four of the things that are very important. So our guiding principle, or our philosophy,...is to serve others with honor, love, dignity and respect, and to live with integrity and lead by example, because today I believe character really counts — it's very important as we look at leadership.
“And I also believe in practicing enthusiasm.”
He then offered his principles of business, noting “the first principle I would share — and this was important to me as I went into business — is to be enthusiastic in our attitude toward life. I think this is dynamic, and I think that if one is going to be enthusiastic about life…it's going to be because they love what they're doing.
“I also believe that when we think about work, we need to think about keeping life in balance because it's so easy to get so involved in your work that you forget about your family and you forget to do the things for your community that you should do.
“Therefore, early in life I set my goals in five areas: the spiritual; the family; the mental; the physical; and the financial. Now, everyone needs to determine what priority they want to give to each of those goals.
“But I believe that if a person is going to be an individual of character, they will probably set them in the order I've given you.”
This editorial appears in the May 25 print edition of Tire Business. Have an opinion on it? Send your comments or a letter to the editor to [email protected].