“I’m third generation in the tire business at T&T OK Tire Inc. in Loveland, Colorado. My grandfather, Ron Tideman started the business in 1968 when they decided to settle down in Loveland. My dad, Ron Frei, married my mom, Terry Tideman in 1969 and went to work for the business at 19 years old. After my grandfather passed away in 1984, my dad and my uncle purchased the business from my grandmother. My dad worked here for over 50 years. I started in September of ‘95, so I’ve been here for 25 years now.
“Loveland is the original location and we have been at 1203 N Lincoln Ave since 1991. The original building was down at 245 Cleveland, but we moved here when an old car dealership went out. We’ve had other locations over the years in Fort Collins and Windsor, but we scaled back to just this shop last year, after the passing of my dad. He was 68. It was less than 30 days from the time of his cancer diagnosis to death, and I stayed with him every single day- I didn’t come into the shops once. Any time I tried to leave, my dad would say, ‘you’re not leaving, are you?’ so I never did. It makes me even more thankful for my guys here. The employees ran the show. Brett, Randy, and Brian kept us running while I stayed with my dad.
“As for what comes next, there’s no other family in the business. When I decide to retire, if nobody else decides to buy it, T&T Tire will die with me. I don’t know that any employees would buy it, so it would end with me.
“COVID did affect us in April. When the world shut down in March, April was slower for us. We modified hours. I have fifteen people here and I wanted to keep all of them so we decided to shorten our hours to closing at 3:30 instead of 5:30, and closed every Saturday in April, just trying to save payroll. Business slowed down, you know, people were afraid, so nobody was going out, nobody was driving anywhere anyway.
“May started to pick up. I got the PPP loan from Mark and Shane at the Points West in Windsor and that was a great help. We kept everybody on. Now we’re 7:30 to 5:00, so not quite back to 5:30 yet and we’re just trying to be more productive in the hours that we’re here, but I was able to keep my entire staff. We were considered essential, so we’ve never shut down through the whole thing. I mean, everybody was scared to leave home, and scared to spend money. We actually sent tires back, because the ones we had ordered, people were then afraid to get laid off or furloughed, so they didn’t even want to spend the money to put tires on their cars anymore.
“Now our tire sales have been down some this year, naturally, but our service has gone up. People are servicing their vehicles, doing the oil changes and maintenance, so they are taking care of what they have instead of buying new ones. The same thing happened in ‘08 because people were uncertain of what would happen. But as we go into winter, our sales go up.
“The most rewarding part out of all my years has been being able to keep my entire staff this year and keep going. My dad will always be a major part of T&T Tire and he will never be forgotten.
“We feel the hometown support of Loveland, for sure. We have customers who have been loyal to us for 35+ years. Loveland is getting bigger and bigger but we try to stay involved as much as we can. We sponsor a lot of golf tournament holes for cancer awareness. My dad died of stage 4 lung, liver and bone cancer, so we’ll always support those as much as we can. We’re involved in the Loveland Chamber of Commerce, so we just try to stay tied to the community in that way.
“We miss Windsor. We had to make a life choice and during COVID I was thankful to only be running one ship instead of two, but we do miss Windsor. We have a lot of Windsor customers that still come over here to Loveland including Shane Sparks and Mark Brase. Our relationship with Points West Bank has been fantastic. It’s fifteen minutes more to drive but we’re still here to take care of Windsor, Fort Collins, and Loveland, even though we don’t have the three locations anymore.
“We’re one of the last independent tire dealers on the Front Range, that’s not a chain store. We’re competitive with all the big box stores, and we’ll never make customers wait three hours for a tire rotation. We might be a little more in price but we make up for it in the service after the sale. When you buy tires from us, you get free tire rotations and tire repairs. You come in for a free tire rotation or repair, we’ll treat you just the same as the day you purchased the tires. You don’t see that as much at chain stores. We try to go above and beyond and give excellent customer service, and we’re so appreciative of the people that choose to support us here.”
Points West is proud to support Rob Frei and T&T Tire and look forward to working with him for many years to come.