MIAMI (June 13, 2016) — Rubber may run in the veins of veteran tire dealers, but it seems to be imprinted in the DNA of the Ginsberg family, which has been involved in the tire business since tires were first sold.
The Ginsbergs operate Miami-based tire wholesaler Ace Tire, and can trace the family business roots back five generations to 1911 when Henry Ginsberg emigrated to the U.S. from Russia and soon after opened a vehicle service shop in New York City. Since tires and automobiles were rare in those days, his descendents think he may have started out shoeing horses before transitioning into tire sales and repair.
Through the ensuing decades the family business underwent several expansions, name changes, sell-offs and re-inventions.
While the family operated several tire businesses over the years, it held to one philosophy: A multi-generational family-run business has the added advantage of accumulated experience that is passed from one generation to the next, according to Henry Ginsberg's grandson, Daniel Ginsberg, 80.
He retired in 1996 but still visits Ace Tire four days a week to lend advice to his two sons, who now operate the wholesale/export/retail tire business in Miami. Two of his grandsons, representing the fifth generation, are now involved in the business, as well.
The major challenge of a family business, according to Richard Ginsberg, president of Ace Tire and son of Daniel, is “being able to get along with one another.”
“It is a challenge...,” Daniel Ginsberg admitted, adding, “The goal was originally, from the very beginning, to be successful. And that's the impetus for the whole thing. You get along because we're all here for one purpose—to make the business successful.”
They acknowledged there has been friction at times between the generations and their decisions.
“The way it has worked in our family is that when one generation, like myself for example, is active and solely in charge of the business, most of the direction was taken by the next generation. I was not necessarily only their father but I was their boss. I ran the company until I decided to retire.
“And now, for example my sons, who have their sons in the business—they are the boss and their sons are working for a company. Whether or not their fathers are the boss at this point, they (the sons) have to adhere to certain standards,” Daniel Ginsberg said.
“Now we've been very lucky. We didn't have infighting within any of the generations that I know. I am sure that in many family businesses you're going to get the next generation and they're going to argue and fight and so on. I would say that if people cannot get along then it's not a good idea to continue something because a business generally is only there to make money.
“You can't have a successful business if you have infighting within the company, especially a family situation. We have been either fortunate or did the right thing by the next generation. They always were adequately compensated until they took over and they are doing the same thing for the next generation.”
The Ginsbergs don't have a formal succession plan for the business, he said.
“We don't want it to be that formal because it's a matter of trust. I believe very much in trust. We've been fortunate because, down through the years, my father and his brother always got along and made the business grow. My brother and myself, we made it happen. Sure you have an argument. It would be crazy for me to say you don't disagree with things, but the goal that I always looked at, and I believe my father also, was to make money,” Daniel Ginsberg reiterated.
“What is a business for if not to be successful financially for many people? We all have wives and mothers and fathers and it's a challenge. Business is not easy. However, we have been fortunate in getting our family to—let's call it, agree enough, so that we can continue this thing on.”
The elder Mr. Ginsberg recounted for Tire Business the history of his family business:
Henry Ginsberg opened a store in mid Manhattan on the east side, which he operated for about 20 years selling tires and related services. Flat tires were fixed literally in the street as “there weren't many cars in those days,” Daniel Ginsberg said.
Henry's three sons, William, Harry and Sam, eventually joined the business.
William expanded the business by opening a tire shop in the Bronx, called William Ginsberg & Sons. His brothers Harry and Sam moved to another location in Manhattan's upper west side in the early 1930s, which they called Inter City Auto Stores. The elder Mr. Ginsberg oversaw the three intertwined operations until his retirement.