Johnny G & Friends

Johnny G & Friends

If you’ve spent some time in the tire industry, you’ve probably heard the name John Gamauf, aka Johnny g. In his 50-plus years of service to the industry, he’s busted tires, survived the largest tire recall in history and made a lot of friends along the way. Meet them in Johnny g & Friends, a monthly podcast in which Johnny g and his friends share the secrets to their success and the memories they’ve made along the way in our beloved tire industry.


December 19, 2023 13 mins
Welcome to Johnny g & Friends. Today, we have a special episode for you: The Greatness Round-Up of Season 3. In this episode, we take one question I asked all of our guests this year and compile their answers into one episode of never-before-heard audio.

This year, I asked our guests, “How do you work on the business instead of in the business?” In this episode, you'll hear from:

  • Marc Pons, owner of Chapel Hill Tire;
  • Beth Barr...
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You know when someone loves what they do when they speak about it with passion and excitement. With an engineering background and a passion for racing, Cara Krstolic, executive director, race tire engineering and manufacturing and chief engineer, motorsports, at Bridgestone Americas, is one of those people.

A native of Akron, Ohio, Cara started her career at Bridgestone as a vehicle dynamics engineer. But her curiosity for learning...
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Dennis King has deep roots in the tire industry at Dunlap & Kyle Tire Company. His dad, Denny started out at Dunlap & Kyle in Jackson, Mississippi, working in distribution for Hesselbein Tire. When Dennis finished his computer science degree at Ole Miss in 1990, he planned to work in IT for the federal court system, yet the universe had other plans.

After a conversation with Bob Dunlap, founder of Dunlap & Kyle, Dennis...
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TJ Beroth comes from a long line of proud independent tire dealers that have demonstrated passion for serving their community. And TJ is no exception.

TJ’s grandfather, Tom, started Mock-Beroth Tire & Automotive in 1966 with the Mock brothers in the greater Winston-Salem area. It started as a recapping business and has evolved to 11 retail locations today. TJ’s dad, T, took over for Tom in the late 70s and developed the motto o...
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Matt Jensen grew up in the industry under the tutelage of his father, W.R., who founded Jensen Tire & Auto in 1973 with his wife. In the mid-90s, Matt bought out his father’s share of the business and focused on its growth in Omaha, Fremont and Lincoln, Nebraska. In 10 years’ time, he took Jensen Tire from 10 locations to 21.

Throughout the years, Jensen Tire has stayed true to its mission of maintaining long-lasting relationsh...
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Sullivan Tire is a name synonymous with the tire business. Yet when Bob Sullivan decided to take a risk and start the business in 1955, he was working out of a little red garage in Rockland, Massachusetts, that he rented for $150 per month. At that time, the Sullivan family had eight kids—eight mouths to feed—yet Bob was determined to go in business for himself and pursue the American dream.

Fast forward 68 years, and now his kids...
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Growing up, Beth Barron watched her father, Charley Gowland and his business partner, Billy Parker, open the first Chabill’s Tire & Auto Service in Morgan City, Louisiana. in the late ‘60s. For Charley, he looked at it as a huge business opportunity, which has blossomed into 19 stores over the past 55 years. Yet if you asked a college-aged Beth at the time if she’d take over the business one day, her answer would have been “No....
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What every independent tire dealer wants is for their customers to drive away happy—satisfied with their vehicle, the quality of repair, and the staff that made it all happen. Living that out is another story, but at Chapel Hill Tire, owner Marc Pons has created a foundation for the business’s slogan, “Drive Happy,” which is plastered through its 10 stores in North Carolina’s Research Triangle.

To support its “Drive Happy” philosop...
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Today’s tire business is rapidly changing: you’re seeing new vehicle technology in your bays daily, and our digital world has changed the way you do business. Yet as you’ll find in this episode of Johnny g & Friends, presented by Firestone, running a successful tire business starts with the basics. What are those and how do you get there? This year’s guests on Johnny g & Friends have some advice.

You may remember our “Greatness Wra...
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Behind the 17 locations of St. Lucie Battery & Tire is a family of immigrants who moved to southeast Florida in the 1940s. Initially, the Miller family started a poultry and egg business in Fort Pierce, yet one of the oldest boys, Joey, saw a need for batteries in the area. So, after he delivered eggs and poultry to the locals, he’d pick up old batteries from service stations, clean them up and re-sell them as reconditioned batteri...
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When you walk through the doors of Suburban Tire & Auto Centers in Glendale, Heights, Illinois, you’re walking into one of the cleanest and most organized tire dealerships on the east coast. “I could eat off the floors,” says Johnny g about the tire store this month’s guest has made into a superstore in the suburbs of Chicago.

In this episode of Johnny g & Friends, presented by Firestone, meet Gordon Leffler, owner of Suburban Tir...
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Jamie Ward is a true tire guy. He learned automotive service work at an early age and had the skills equivalent to an ASE Master Tech by age 15. As he grew in the business, his passion and energy for the industry has catapulted him to president and CEO of TireDiscounters where he has been an instrumental part of growing the business from eight stores to the over 175 locations the dealership has today…including its foray into the ca...
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Even when Jarid Lundeen worked in the restaurant and banking industries, one thing about the customer experience always stood out to him: Consistency. Early on, he learned consistency creates success, which is what he looks to instill in his four Tires Plus locations in Minott, North Dakota. But how do you do that?

Jarid tells Johnny g in this latest episode of Johnny g & Friends, presented by Firestone. Jarid not only touts consist...
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With opportunities for growth, many businesses add to their bottom line, but it also becomes more complex and complicated to keep things running. With so many balls in the air, it gets harder to stick to your mission– why you even started in the first place–as well as your vision for the business and the values you want the business to carry out on a daily basis. It’s truly a juggling act, but one business that has been able to do ...
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Wendel Burt, co-founder of Burt Brothers Tire & Service, attributes his success in the tire industry to two words: Hard work. It’s that simple yet also challenging and complicated when you’re the one that’s the owner, service advisor, trainer, technican, HR department and… should we go on? We know other tire dealers out there get the grit it takes to start your own tire business.

So, when Wendel Burt and his brother, Ron, started B...
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Expanding from one store to two is hard enough, but imagine expanding from one to 19 stores in the span of 10 years. If you think that sounds like a daunting task, you’re not alone, but that’s the feat Aaron Telle, owner of Telle Tire & Auto Centers based in St. Louis, Missouri, accomplished after taking over his family’s business in 2009.

The fourth-generation owner of Telle Tire & Auto Centers, Aaron began his career in the tire ...
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For years, Virginia Tire & Auto has been among the best tire dealers in North America. The dealership, now spanning 18 stores, was named Tire Review’s Top Shop Winner in 2011, and since then, has garnered local and national accolades. Today in its second generation of ownership, Virginia Tire is redefining what it means to be a tire dealer in the 21st century with an open mind toward technology, smart marketing and a different look...
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Any industry, sport or line of work has “the greats” — those people that others in the industry know for the work they do, the business they’re building and the legacy that they’re creating. They’re known for their steadfast leadership, problem-solving abilities, and most importantly, their unwavering passion for the industry and serving their communities. In season 1 of Johnny g & Friends, presented by Firestone, Johnny g talked t...
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Teamwork is key to running a successful business, and no one knows that better than Craig Tate. A second-generation tire dealer with a passion for the tire business, Craig was a college football player who took over his father’s tire dealership with his brother, Chuck, in 2000. The two grew the business to seven locations, running the multi-store business like they were operating a football team.

In 2018, Tate Boys won the 2018 Tir...
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John Ziegler Jr. has rubber running through his veins. The third generation of a 102-year-old tire business, John Jr. grew up busting tires at his family’s Ziegler Tire retail stores in Canton, Ohio. After graduating college, he worked for a short time at a Firestone store, yet the family business, which claims to be one of the first and oldest Firestone dealers, called him back.

A jack of all trades, John Jr. has worked on the ret...
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