Holmes Tire is on a Roll

The family business goes the extra mile for customers

Taking over a longtime family business can be difficult, especially when there’s an established reputation for great customer service to uphold. Tom and Linda Holmes have proven that they are more than up to the task.

F.J.Holmes opened Holmes Tire in 1926, and he built the business based on relationships, quality, trust and going the extra mile for customers. After Tom and Linda took over for Tom’s grandfather, George Holmes, in 1990, they continued the business’s traditions. “We have been very fortunate to have a pretty sizable, loyal customer base,” Linda says. “Even though the local Ford and Chevrolet dealers are now developing their own wheel and tire shops, they continue to bring us business, mainly because of the relationships we’ve built with them over the years.”

The Holmeses were both born and raised in Madison. Tom grew up in the tire business, working at Holmes since childhood, even while pursuing a degree in animal sciences at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Linda started her career at American TV & Appliance, where she learned the retail business.

At Holmes Tire, Tom handles the orders and inventory while Linda’s focus is sales and marketing. Married thirty-two years, the couple enjoys a great partnership, both at and away from work. Says Tom, “Our business and personal relationships work because we both take orders very well, know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, we both believe in honesty and customer service and, most of all, we respect each other.”

What sets Holmes Tire apart  is the company’s ability to think outside the box, as well as its freedom to deviate from the norm and provide
customers multiple options for their tire and wheel needs. “We love that flexibility,” Linda says. “We love the business because it gives us an oppor-tunity to interact often with our loyal customers, and to make new ones along the way.”

The Vitals

• A family-owned business since 1926, now in its third generation
• Born and raised in Madison (Tom and Linda)
• Degree in animal sciences from UW–Madison (Tom)
• Member of the National Cutting Horse Association (Tom)

The Breakdown

Three Cheers

Congratulations to 2012 Trailblazer Awards for Women in Business recipients Marsha Lindsay, CEO of Lindsay, Stone & Briggs, Kelly Starr-King, CEO of Drake & Company, and Donna Gray, CEO and president of Awards Mall/Total Awards & Promotions, Inc. They are three of fourteen statewide who won the annual award that honors women pioneers in the business community.

An Unfortunate Situation

The closing of the New Town Pub on Madison’s west side is another sad story of business owners being forced to close their doors because of the actions of a few troublemakers who brought problems around the establishment. There has to be a better way of dealing with the violence instead of ruining the dreams of those who spend their life’s savings to start a business.

Smart Move

Madison Metropolitan School District superintendent Dan Nerad unveiled a plan designed to close the decades-old achievement gap for African American and Latino students. While the price tag is hefty, and the details still need to be sorted out, Nerad should be commended for acknowledging the school district’s shortcomings and asking the community for assistance.

Derrell Connor hosts “Outreach” on NewsTalk 1310 WIBA, pens a column for Channel 3000 and freelances for Madison Magazine.

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