BATESVILLE, Miss. — With 70 years under his belt, Robert Dunlap, chairman and CEO of Dunlap & Kyle Co. Inc., may win the prize for the longest tenure at the family-owned tire wholesaler, but there are many employees who are runner-ups with decades of service.
Some local families have had four generations of Dunlap & Kyle employees. Bob Dunlap has children, grandchildren and relatives as employees.
"Most people who work for Mr. Dunlap and his company, they tend to stay because it's a great company," said Mario Hentz, store manager at Dunlap & Kyle's Gateway Tire store in Memphis, Tenn. "They may leave sometimes, thinking it's greener on the other side, but they typically come back."
He said all the employees respect Dunlap, so that is why there is not a big turnover at the company.
"Pretty much any store you go to, most of the people have been here well over 10 years, some 20, 30, 40 years. That says a lot about the company. It's not a big turnaround," said Hentz, who has been with the company 13 years.
Employee longevity has been attributed to loyalty to Dunlap and to the benefits the company provides, including health insurance, a 401K retirement plan and profit sharing.
"It takes a lot of hard work and time. I think along the way the more people you help carry with you, the better off you'll be," Dunlap said.
"We've got close to 1,700 people on the payroll. We don't lose anybody to anybody else. We have good hospitalization; we have good retirement benefits; and we pay them a lot of damn money," Dunlap said.
"If you get people like that, they're never going to leave you."
Employees have said that the company takes care of its own.
"We take care of them. Somebody's house burns down, we'll help them, with whatever it takes. …," Dunlap said.
"If they have extra hardships, I've had elderly people too old to work, maybe they started to work before we had enough in the profit-sharing and retirement benefit — but until the day they die, they don't miss a pay date. They went for years and never worked, but they stayed on the payroll. They were loyal when they were alive and I'll stay with them til they're gone," Dunlap said.