ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Wholesale Tire Inc. certainly has had enough seminal moments in its four decades of operation to fill a warehouse.
There was the pivot to ATV tires. The move from its original building to a bigger building. Another move to the current facility. Ownership changes. And, of course, the decision to offer an exclusive brand of tires.
St. Louis Wholesale, still known within the industry as the go-to place for oddball, hard-to-find products and inner tubes, now describes itself as a nationwide distributor of agricultural, industrial and specialty tires, with a nod to its oddball niche past.
If there is one recurring theme in each chapter of the St. Louis Wholesale story, it's this: Building relationships.
"Through those first years and to now, it's been relationships that have been the key to our success," St. Louis Wholesale Tire CEO Joe Inchiostro told Tire Business.
"Nobody appreciates business more than us," Operations Manager John Inchiostro said.
And business is booming: the company has grown sales 23% each of the last three years. In 2000, sales were $3 million. Six years later, sales doubled. And in 2022, sales reached $25 million.
That's a chunk of specialty tires.
As the company celebrates its 40th anniversary — the wholesaler officially incorporated in 1984 — the Inchiostro cousins note that the founding of the wholesale business they oversee revolved around the strong relationship of their fathers, brothers Joe and Larry Inchiostro.
The brothers, sons of a Sicilian immigrant who came to the U.S. in the 1930s, had been working together at Tire Mart in the St. Louis area for a decade. When things went sour with management, they came to one conclusion: They could do it better themselves.
Joe, who died in April, 2019, and Larry, who will turn 82 in December, leveraged everything they owned, including property in mid-Missouri, to secure loans and lines of credit to start the business out of Joe's home.
"They thought, 'We can be in control of our destiny.' So they had the courage and the fortitude and the will to go out on their own and take a chance," the younger Joe said. "It really is, in my mind ... a true American success story."