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Getting back to the old way of doing business

Wednesday, 09 September 2009
by Mandy Moran Froemmingby
Union Editor

Doing new business the old way. That's the plan for East Main Auto and Tire, the downtown Anoka business that has been under new ownership since June.

Mike Gieseke Jr. and Brad Fulwider, who purchased the full automotive service center and independent Goodyear dealership from Gieseke's father, Mike Gieseke Sr., are focusing on the basics.

“We know our customers are changing,” said Gieseke Jr. “People don't want high pressure sales. It's all about trust and building a relationship.”

He knows people are tired of taking their vehicle in for an oil change and then feeling pushed into doing hundreds of dollars in repairs.

And while like all businesses the goal is to succeed financially, the owners say their priority is not making a quick buck.

Gieseke said the service department will let people know what their vehicle needs and the priority of those repairs. “You have to get to know people and their needs,” said business partner Fulwider. “Different people want different things. Some want to put the best parts on their car, but that's not in everybody's budget.”

The pair have polished up the service center and added a children's play area to the comfortable lounge, knowing it's often women with young kids in tow who are waiting at East Main Auto and Tire for vehicle repairs.

Gieseke Jr. worked for the past 18 years at the Arden Hills shop currently owned by his father. He started cleaning the shop and eventually became a Certified Master Technician. It's here that he met Fulwider, and the two worked together for 10 years.

The two had originally planned to build a new shop in Mounds View, but ran into stumbling blocks as banks tightened up lending to businesses.

In January, Fulwider had moved to East Main Auto and Tire to manage the shop for Gieseke Sr., who was looking to downsize.

The north metro location started to become more appealing to the business partners.

Gieseke, who lives in Ramsey and grew up in the Anoka area, admits it was tough to leave the Arden Hills shop and its customers

“I knew the customers so long now their kids were bringing their cars in,” he said.

But at the same time, both owners feel like Anoka is a good fit.

“I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, so I'm used to the small town, main street approach business,” said Fulwider.

While tires are certainly part of the business at East Main Auto and Tire with the familiar Goodyear sign out front, Fulwider said they hope to put more emphasis on the automotive service offered by two certified technicians along with two light duty technicians.

“We do everything from bumper to bumper,” he said. “Our goal is to be the best, not the biggest, but ‘the shop' in the area. It's not business as usual, it's a whole new old approach.”

Despite the challenge of opening a new business in a tough economy, both Gieseke and Fulwider are loving being self-employed.

“It's fun to come to work every day,” said Fulwider. “We felt like we needed a change, to do things our way.”

Already they are settling into the community, recognizing cars on the street they have worked on and getting to know the people in the neighborhood.

“This is auto repair the way it should be,” said Gieseke Jr.

East Main Auto and Tire is located at 328 E. Main St. Business hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Hours of Operation
M-Th8:00 a.m.6:00 p.m.
Fri8:00 a.m.5:30 p.m.
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