For four generations and more than 75 years, Telle Tire & Auto Centers has maintained a passionate focus on solving customer’s problems through attention to detail, collaboration, and integrity, while creating long-lasting relationships. The Telle tradition of providing personal service, quality products and business innovations remains as important today as it was for Chuck Telle and his father in the mid-1900’s.
Find out more about Aaron Telle and his business below!
Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment?
A: I started at Telle Tire when I was 15 years old, working during summer break. My job duties throughout my high school years included shuttle driver, general service tech, and janitor. After high school, I stayed home and attended a community college while starting to work on the front counter as a service writer. After a semester, I ended up leaving to attend College at the University of Missouri Columbia. I always enjoyed the industry and was extremely proud of our family’s longevity in the business and felt compelled to continue the tradition. My father fell ill and needed a bone marrow transplant. This was very tough on him personally and the business. He fought a long and hard battle for many years but ended up succumbing. During those times, the business fell on tough times and sales were at an all time low. I came back into the business at 22 years old, and within those four years, my Uncle retired, and my father had passed away. At 26 years old, I was operating a single store that had multiple years of declining sales. Since 2011, we have grown to ten locations and have over 75 associates.
Q: What made you want to start this business?
A: Our family has been in the tire business since 1942. My Great-Grandfather, Arthur Telle Sr., founded a second-hand retreading mold and formed a business recapping tires. The single outlet business continued to grow and thrive and by 1962, focused exclusively on retail tire and auto service. As a fourth generation Telle leading the family business, it has always been important to continue to honor the legacy started by my Great Grandfather.
Q: What’s your favorite aspect of being a local business owner in Jefferson City?
A: Getting a feel for how close knit of a community Jefferson City really is. I really have enjoyed the many conversations I have had and how genuine people are for hoping we do well. This means a lot to myself and the team.
Q: What is one thing you wish people knew about your business?
A: We are not simply just tires, but a full automotive repair facility and we are committed to building long-term relationships with our customers and not interested in a one-time sale.
Q: Who are your mentors?
A: My Grandfather, Charles Telle, was my biggest influence (2nd generation) along with wanting to make the business successful again for my father who deeply loved this industry. Chuck Telle did live long enough to see me become a full-time employee and to implement some changes in the business. My grandfather taught me the finer points of running a business. Customer service, he often said, was always the top priority. He just always would drill into me that the reason you’re successful and the reason you’re in business is because of your employees, first and foremost, but there are so many places that your customers have a chance to go. Every time they come in you have to give them a reason to come back. He always related the tire industry to the restaurant industry. He would always say, “Restaurants don’t sell the steak, they sell the sizzle.” It’s the little extra things that make the difference. Everybody sells the same products and provides a lot of the same services, so what can we do to differentiate ourselves from the competition? What we are selling and creating are relationships, and having a place where our clientele can feel comfortable and confident doing business with us.
Q: What are you most thankful for when it comes to your business?
A: Our people, they understand the vision, so everyday we set out on making sure that we provide the highest level of service that we can.
Q: How long have you been in business?
A: This company has been in business since 1942.
Q: What advice would you give to new entrepreneurs in our area who are wanting to start their own business?
A: Surround yourself with other successful entrepreneurs who have been through the process and understand the ups and downs of starting your own business.
Q: Do you have any other businesses? If so, what are they?
A: In addition to our location at Jefferson City, Telle Tire & Auto Centers operates nine locations in the St. Louis area.
Q: Where is your favorite place for a lunch meeting?
A: Time is the most valuable asset and I actually do not schedule lunch meetings on purpose.
Q: Who are your biggest supporters?
A: My wife Laura, and our three boys Austin, Samuel, and James.
Q:How do you get motivated?
A: Working out in the morning gets me ready for the work day.
Q: How do you feel about Mondays?
A: Excited to start the work week.
Q: If you weren’t in the tire industry, what would you be doing?
A: I would be in the financial industry.
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