By Robert Bloch, Contributor
Take a ride down Mt. Philo Road, past the park entrance and the Mt. Philo Inn, up over the ridge, savoring the spectacular views in all directions, and down into the borderlands toward North Ferrisburgh. Just past the red “Entering North Ferrisburgh” sign you will find Wayne’s Tires, and its owner Wayne Abare. Wayne’s a big guy, especially standing there in his black Carhart overalls and baseball cap, flashing a friendly grin.
Wayne grew up in North Ferrisburgh and has lived at the same Mt. Philo Road address all his life. His dad built the garage and operated an autobody shop there for twenty-three years. Wayne started his tire dealership in 2006 in the same building on Mt. Philo Road, following a successful 20 year career with Riley‘s Tires, in South Burlington. At Riley’s, Wayne gained experience in all aspects of the business, including some time making “house calls” (road calls?) to help 18 wheelers and other heavy equipment in tire distress. Wayne started the business part time and credits Harvey Sharrow (remember Harv’s Tires) with providing him important help during those early days.
Today, Wayne enjoys solid backing from the community and has become the “go to” place for all things concerning automobile tires for many Charlotte and Ferrisburgh residents. As you might expect, early Spring and late Fall are Wayne’s busiest periods.
He notes the changes that he has seen in the tire business over the years, including the move to larger and larger automobile tires. When he started working with tires, something as large as a 16” rim would be found mostly on pick-up trucks. Today, they are among the smaller tires on compact cars and 19-20” rims are commonplace on many family autos. Tires are lasting longer too, due to improved rubber compounds and tread design.
Wayne’s a hard-working guy, but during the slower periods, or with any free time for that matter, Wayne is likely to be found on the lake fishing or in winter riding his snowmobile in the Northeast Kingdom. Salmon is his favorite gamefish and the walls of the shop display a few photos of some of his more (and winning) memorable battles.
When asked how he competes with the big tire retailers Wayne says that his prices are competitive, but more importantly Wayne says, “Wayne’s Tire is the only place where you can expect the owner of the company to be mounting and balancing your tires when you come in”.
That works for me.