HOULKA – When Brady Gray and his wife Mollie decided to open their own tire shop, they could not have imagined the level of success they would see.
Opened five years ago, Gray's Tire Service has sat on the same corner in Houlka its entire tenure. However, they have officially relocated to a larger facility, which opened on Monday, and will allow them to service more cars at one time than ever before.
“We're just kind of moving up the scale,” said Gray. “We bought a store right out there on 15, and we're trying to move that way. The transition's tough, but it's a lot bigger, it's got more doors on it. I've got four big doors down there where I've only got one here. We can do multiple services down there.”
Though they are moving, it is only down the road, and they will still be a part of Houlka and its rich community.
A community that Gray and his family have felt accepted by and love dearly.
“It's just a good community. I've got people coming in all day long, coming to say hi, and sit down and drink some coffee, they're not just strangers coming through the door, we know just about everybody. Everybody that walks through that door we know.”
Offering multiple services, Gray's believes in keeping business local, and they almost exclusively trade with local businesses. He said that his customers have the same view and that is the main way that not only his business, but most local businesses are able to stay afloat.
“It's the loyalty of my customers. They come here regardless. They come in to buy their tires even though they're paying a few dollars more to buy their tires from me than to get them at Walmart, but that's what I like about my customers, they keep coming.”
He said that what sets them apart from other tire stores is their 24-hour roadside service. However, he said that it is not a competition with him. He is not seeking to run anybody out of business, he just wants to coexist with the other tire stores in the county and everyone continue their business and grow.
With their new facility, however, he did say that they would become the largest tire store in the county as far as square footage.
But that is the ultimate goal, to just keep growing, while never forgetting the people who got them where they are today.