Grand Gorge Tire opens to serve community's needs
By Trish Adams
When the Grand Gorge community lost Becker’s Tire Service to a devastating fire on September 27, with it went the steady livelihoods of at least half a dozen people. And, as the only tire service of its volume and diversity in the area, its loss on the verge of winter was sorely felt throughout all our local villages and towns.
For Bob Cronk, the loss was especially devastating. “Bob’s been changing tires for nearly 20 years,” says his wife Amy, who is now also his office manager at Grand Gorge Tire, now nearing its five-month anniversary of bustling operations.
And Cronk had a building: a garage space he had purchased some time ago to do his own work, just outside of town on Route 23. It sits directly across the road from the “Welcome to Grand Gorge” sign, just east of Grand Gorge Animal Hospital.
“There was nothing in here when we got it,” said Amy. “It was a mess.”
By November 29, the Cronks had inventory and basic equipment in place and opened shop. To look at Bob working on two cars at once with his son, John, you suspect he hasn’t really stopped since.
Word of mouth and advertising are doing a good job of bringing people in, the signs arrived last week to make Grand Gorge Tire easier to spot, and spring is finally here, which means its time for everyone to get their studs off and their snow tires swapped out.
Filling it up
Although they don’t have room for an enormous inventory, the garage space is teeming with shiny new tires and the Cronks can order what you need. In addition to tires for commercial and passenger vehicles, they can also supply ATV, lawnmower, golf cart and even wheelbarrow tires. There was a huge Paraco gas truck ready to be serviced on Friday afternoon, two more customers having tires changed and folks walking in to schedule appointments.
“Don’t wait until the last minute, April 30, to get the studs off,” advises Bob, while admitting that “the last minute” is quickly approaching. Even if you are driving on snow or winter specialty tires, you should get them replaced as soon as possible: “Warm weather will wear down snow tires quickly, because they are made from softer rubber compounds to retain traction in the really cold temperatures,” said Bob. “Warm weather will eat them up.”
Although its clear that the Cronks take walk-ins, appointments are strongly advised. Right now, Bob has his son John working with him, but John will be traveling for school and back at the Culinary Institute very soon. Then it’s just Bob and Amy.
“I’m pretty sure we will be busy enough to offer some steady work here soon,” says Bob, who has plenty of experience training and managing workers from his time at Becker’s. And he already knows who “knows” tires in our area.
Grand Gorge Tire is located at 35487 State Highway 23 and is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
“Oh, he’ll be here by 7:30,” Amy tells a customer on the line. Just be sure to call first: 607 588-4100.