BALCARRES, Saskatchewan — OK Tire's newest outlet, in the eastern Saskatchewan farming village of Balcarres, is a true youth movement, owned and operated by a trio of business owners in their mid-20s.
The new franchisees — Gregory den Brok, Jai Deep and Aaron Leegwater — opened their business April 14, pledging to serve the needs of the farming community in around Balcarres, a village of about 600 residents located 50 miles northeast of Regina, Saskatchenwan.
The new business will offer 24-hour mobile tire service to the local farming community with multi-brand selection as well as tires for all applications from cars, trucks and wheelbarrows to commercial and farm equipment, according to OK Tire Stores Inc., the franchisor.
In addition, this location will provide mechanical repairs and maintenance for passenger vehicles and light trucks as well as heavy-duty repairs on semi-tractor and trailer units.
The partners bring varied skills and talents to the partnership, according to den Brok, the majority owner. He's worked in the tire industry before in his family's business, while Leegwater is a high-school colleague who predominantly has worked on farms in the area. Deep is an immigrant from India who's a trained heavy-duty mechanic and who worked with den Brok previously.
The trio banded together last year after realizing they all wanted more than being someone else's employee. They reached out to OK Tire about the possibility of securing a franchise, den Brok said,
After securing financing, the trio reached a deal to take over an existing tire and auto repair shop in Balcarres, operated for the past 30-plus years by Richard and Perry Ruecker, most recently under Integra Tire branding.
OK Tire and the new franchisees celebrated the store's opening on April 30 with a barbecue and other festivities.
Since taking over the location, the partners have upgraded some of the shop's equipment and secured two mobile service trucks, one with 14,000-pound crane for in-field work, den Brok said.
Farms in rural Saskatchewan around Balcarres raise a variety of crops, including canola, barley, wheat, oats and corn, and raise cattle.
The dealership has three employees now, but den Brock said the plan is to double that as soon as possible and possibly double that again as business grows.
This location is one of 30 independently owned and operated OK Tire points of sale in Saskatchewan and over 325 nationwide.
OK Pneus La Malbaie in Clermont, Quebec, owned by Frédéric Ouellet, Marc-Antoine Leblond, Martin Dassylva and Jean-François Marie, recently was named the franchise group's National Store of the Year for 2021.