EVANSTON, Ill. — Making it — really making it — in the tire business takes something.
Determination. Patience. Dedication.
Nobody knows that better than Brian Moak, founder of HEART Certified Auto Care, an upstart national franchisor. Mr. Moak grew up right in the middle of the crazy, wonderful tire business. The busy, chaotic, usually frustrating, but almost always rewarding business.
Heart is what called his father to purchase three tire and auto service centers roughly 40 years ago, and it's the same thing that compelled Mr. Moak to purchase the operations from his father in 2009. It's also the reason he is looking to take the business, HEART Certified Auto Care, to the next level with franchising opportunities.
More than that though, HEART has become the center of everything Mr. Moak does: "Helping Everyone Achieve Reliable Transportation."
As he stands on the edge of a dream that involves growing his three-location tire and auto care business beyond the Chicago area to as many as 100 locations across country, he can't help but look back.
It's no wonder he is where he is today.
As a toddler, Mr. Moak spent many days in his father's shop. At times, it was the only place for him. When his mother was pregnant with his sister and was prescribed bed rest, there was no other place for the little boy to go. He had to go to work with his dad.
"He literally created a playpen for me out of tires," Mr. Moak said. "Literally, since day one, I have grown up in this business. It's in my blood."
Tire-inspired playpens were just the beginning. When the family owns a tire business, the whole family is involved, whether or not they officially signed up. It was no different for Mr. Moak's family, and truthfully, he would not have had it any other way.
"When I was a kid," he said, "the company was not like a company. It was more like a sibling. It was what we talked about at the dinner table, the whole family revolved around the business."
As the years went by, Mr. Moak spent plenty of time working alongside his father at the family dealership, Duxler Complete Auto Care. And he loved it, every single second of it.
"As a child, any time I had off of school — on holidays, vacations or Saturdays — all I wanted to do was go to work with him. So I would. And he would take me and release me into the shop and find me a few hours later, covered head to toe in grease and who knows what trouble I got into," Mr. Moak said with a laugh.
When the time came to choose his career path, Mr. Moak didn't have to think about what exactly he wanted to do. He just knew.
The tire and auto service business was calling him.
"(Dad) tried to get me to consider other professions, not because he didn't want me to come into the business, but because this is a really hard business." Mr. Moak said. "There are a lot of hours, extreme weather conditions, and you have not a single customer that is ever happy to see you."
But it was love that kept his father going through 35 years in the business. Love for his family and providing for them. Love for the customers who came in seeking help to get their cars back on the roads. Love for his employees who made it a little bit easier to come to work every single day.