DENVER — Norman L. "Norm" Affleck, a founding member and first president of Big O Tires, died Feb. 8. He was 95.
During his 22-year tenure with Big O, he recruited many dealers to build the Big O franchise network, helped Big O become a leader in retreading, developed a unique warranty and instituted the private brand concept.
During World War II, Mr. Affleck flew B29 bombers for the U.S. Air Force and flew 32 missions. When he returned to the U.S. in 1945, he started his career in the tire business as an O.K. Rubber Welder store owner.
By 1960 he had six stores in southern Colorado and New Mexico. In 1962 he and a group of other O.K. franchisees formed Big O Tire Dealers Inc. He served as Big O president from 1962 until his retirement in 1984. TBC Corp. acquired Big O in 1996.
For three years he flew his own plane around the country to meet with independent dealers and sell the Big O Tires concept, according to TBC.
In 1965 he developed and implemented the speed-lane concept, creating a drive-through bay at his Denver store.
"The result was an immediate improvement in customer satisfaction and increased productivity and store profitability," TBC said.
He was instrumental in establishing the Big O private tire brand, introduced in 1974.
"Norm played a key role in developing many of the programs that make Big O Tires unique. His own experience in the tire business taught him that the best way to make money was to have an exclusive product, program or service, and he worked passionately on all of these," John Kairys, TBC general manager and vice president, said.
"He always had dealer success and profitability in his every thought — literally talking about this until his last days."
After his retirement, Mr. Affleck continued to contribute to the tire industry through retreading and recycling efforts and consulting, according to TBC.
He was inducted into the Big O Hall of Fame in 1993 and into the Tire Industry Association's Tire Industry Hall of Fame in 2007.
Mr. Affleck is survived by his wife Elva and daughter Kimberly Jo.