From a small operation that began more than 80 years ago behind a dairy building on Toronto’s Danforth Avenue, Superior Tire & Auto Inc. now is one of the most innovative and respected retail tire stores and car care centres in Ontario, Canada. The Company, which has been steered by three generations of a closely knit family, continues to show how innovation, teamwork and dedication to customer service leads to success.
The first Superior Tire & Auto location was opened for business in Toronto on April 4, 1942 at Greenwood and Danforth by the founder, Walter Chudy with a capital investment of $100. The company specialized in retail sales and tire repairs for both car and truck.
By 1952, the operation had outgrown its original location and Walter decided that the Company needed its own building. He and his friends constructed much of the Danforth and Victoria Park location themselves and he soon moved the entire business to this new site.
The 1950s were also significant to the history of Superior Tire in another way. In the summer of ’55, a 17 year old Paul Hyatt started working for the Company part time. Paul would later become not only owner and president of Superior Tire & Auto, but also part of the family itself.
“Starting at the bottom as I did was not a glamorous introduction to the tire business”, said Paul. He changed and repaired tires, retreaded passenger and truck tires, worked on truck service calls, installed tires in parking lots, and even worked servicing ‘Honey Wagons’ – the trucks that pumped out overflowing septic tanks.
With continuing expansion of services, Walter’s son Richard started a subsidiary company, Superior Services, in order to market their corporate expertise in accounting, business administration, marketing and computer programs.
The third generation was already working his way up the corporate ladder. Paul’s son, Jason, started changing tires part time when he was 15, at the original Superior Tire store on Danforth, where his father and grandfather started their respective apprenticeships. After he graduated from Western University, he became manager and eventual franchise owner of the Keele Street store where he built the sales and customer base into a successful operation and added his entrepreneurship to the total vitality of the company.
From its opening day in 1942, Superior Tire & Auto set out on a path of steady growth to become one of the most prominent retail tire stores in the City of Toronto, Canada. In the 1970s, Superior Tire & Auto placed greater focus on expanding its retail operations. Employee service skills were upgraded and on-going technical training became an integral part of the “superior” way. This philosophy would enable knowledgeable staff, supported by state-of-the-art computer programs, to offer their customers the best automotive service and value found anywhere … and continue to do so well into the next millennium.
In 1973 a second location at Markham Road and Sheppard Avenue was opened and became the Company’s corporate headquarters. In 1977, a third store was added to their operation when the Dufferin Street store was opened. And, in 1978, more than 35 years after the doors of Superior Tire opened, Paul Hyatt became the President and CEO.
One of the reasons for the long term success of Superior Tire & Auto, is the pro-active approach that all the staff takes in providing superior customer service and competitive pricing …. with monthly staff meetings, state-of-the-art computer billing and inventory systems, a philosophy of “going beyond the customers’ expectations” and a desire to give 100% satisfaction …. provides continually improving benefits to Superior Tire & Auto’s customers.
The Superior Tire & Auto Franchise programs began in 1991. For the first time the Superior expertise was offered to other independent business people and the first franchise operation began. It was successful right from the start, due to the great relationship of Superior systems and entrepreneurial ownership. Other franchised locations soon followed in Southern Ontario, while still others are being planned for. Recently a new “Associate Franchise Program” was developed for established locations which would profit by joining our Franchise program at a reduced cost. To date, this has been very successful.
“We united in a franchise program to pool our resources and take the large corporate conglomerates head on”, said Paul. “We can continue to offer very competitive prices, our collective years of experience and some innovative and highly beneficial programs and products to our loyal and growing customer base.
Throughout its history, Superior Tire & Auto has proved to be a leader in both the industry and the community. “If you want to make things work for you, you have to get involved”, said Paul, who is the Past President of the Scarborough Chamber of Commerce.
As examples, he conceived and helped develop the government funded Tire Technician Course and worked with Toronto’s Centennial College to put the educational program in place. He was also the Independent Tire Dealers representative on the Ministry of the Environment’s Task Force for Scrap Tire Management.
As well, Paul has been highly involved in many tire industry associations. He is Past President of the Tire Dealers Association of Canada, Past President of the Ontario Tire Dealers Association and Past President of an international organization called T.I.A. (Tire Industry Association). As a result of his activities in the tire industry, Paul was elected into the Tire Association’s prestigious Hall of Fame, an award that recognizes those individuals who have made a significant and positive impact to the industry.
He was also selected by ‘Tire Business’, the tire industry’s international newspaper, as one of the top eight newsmakers for 1990.
Superior Tire & Auto also received the distinguished Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award which recognized the city’s outstanding companies in its second annual awards program on March 21, 1994.
Superior Tire & Auto continues to flourish after 80 years in operation. The spirit of exciting entrepreneurship that brought Superior Tire’s historical successes still drives the Company and continues the push to find even better ways to meet its customer’s needs – through expanded store locations, more services and customer satisfaction.
But the main reason for the success of Superior Tire & Auto is the hard work and dedication of everyone from Head Office to the shop floor. “Our policy is to treat our customers, employees, suppliers and the community with honesty, dignity and respect” said Paul. “From day one, we provided quality products, value pricing and ‘feel good’ customer service while striving consistently to exceed our customer and employee expectations. And these policies, practiced for over half a century, have led directly to the current success of Superior Tire & Auto”.