Ramona Home Journal
Apr 15, 2020
I came to town thirty-odd years ago in a 1965 Oldsmobile Cutlass.
At the time, it wasn’t a classic car — it was just an old car. The engine was a collection of salvage yard parts, and the tires shared very little in common with one another, other than all being bald. I managed to keep it on the road, but just barely. I bought tires the way really poor people do, used and one at a time. Country Tire & Auto was the first tire store I went to, and I’ve been going back ever since.
Country Tire & Auto has changed a lot over the years. I’d like to think I have, too. I’ve done business with three different Country Tire owners at two different locations through many years. Clayton Kraft was the first owner I dealt with. He knew how to stretch my nickel, and always did his best to keep me safe and on the road. Clayton sold Country Tire to Howard Bennett in the mid-nineties, and Howard sold it to Jeff Harris in 2004. It’s not difficult to find people around town who can tell you a story about how Clayton or Howard helped keep them rolling when things were tight, about a time they couldn’t afford to fix their car and couldn’t afford not to, and how Country Tire found a way to help.
The first time I met Country Tire’s current owner, Jeff Harris, I was concerned. He wasn’t the salty dog I’d been dealing with — he was a kid, okay, a young man. Jeff was 27 in 2004, when he took over the business, but he could have passed for 20. He was eager enough, but I wondered if he could live up to what I’ve grown to expect from Country Tire. At first, I only gave him the easy stuff: tire rotation, flats, tubes, etc. — not because he didn’t deserve my other business, but because he wasn’t Howard. Jeff proved himself time and time again. Now, 17 years later, I see Jeff first and go somewhere else only when I have to.
Jeff saved me a bunch of money on tires again last month. I would have spent hundreds more if I drove down to Costco. I go to Country Tire for more than just tires now. I see them first for all my automotive needs. I like working with Kenny Doyno. Kenny’s been with Jeff for five years, and he is a top-notch mechanic! What’s more, Kenny, Jeff and Jose are honest. I don’t understand new cars. I need someone I can trust to stretch my nickels, and keep my vehicles operating safely.
Thank you, Jeff Harris of Country Tire, for your continued service in our community. Thank you for your professional attitude, warm smile, quality work, great prices and knowledgeable staff. Thank you for that big yellow tire that means I’m almost home, and thank you for being some of the Mortar on Main Street.