By Alex Gladu, Independent We Stand
In Valdosta, Georgia, high school football matters a little more. The Valdosta High School Wildcats have claimed to be the most winning high school football team in the United States, with six national championships, 23 Georgia state championships and 41 regional championships. Its stadium is so large that it doubles as Valdosta State University’s home field. Football dominates much of the community, and Valdosta’s local businesses don’t seem to mind.
Fussell Tire Pros, an independent automotive repair and tire shop located in Valdosta, supports the community’s love of high school football each fall. “High school football is pretty big here, so we try to focus on that,” owner Coy Fussell says. In addition to advertisements during the game, Fussell Tire Pros hosts giveaways on Facebook, asking fans to guess the final score of each game. “Last year was our first year doing that, and we plan to continue,” Fussell says. Prizes included four-wheel alignments and oil changes, which come in handy even long after football season has ended.
Aside from football, Fussell Tire Pros also supports Valdosta’s many other pastimes. Each year, the city’s Azalea Festival draws crowds from across the Southeast – and Fussell Tire Pros is sure to be there. “The community comes together to set up the displays,” Fussell says. By participating, Fussell and his team help to drive the economic boost that the festival brings to Valdosta. The Tire Pros team also sponsors local rodeos and a local private school’s athletic program.
Fussell knows the community well, but he also knows the tire business through and through. Before opening his eponymous shop in January of 2013, Fussell spent 22 years with a different independent automotive repair center and tire dealer. He took on many roles in his time with that shop, including managing the tire inventory, managing the sales team and hiring new employees.
“I reached the top level of staff over there, and I just wanted to build something with more security and something to pass on to my children and my family,” Fussell says. “This was a big step for me, but I had to keep telling myself that you’ll never go forward if you keep looking back.”
Moving forward doesn’t seem like a problem for Fussell. In 2015, his business moved from its original 7,500-square-foot facility to a much larger one with 21,000 square feet. From that location, Fussell Tire Pros offers a full range of automotive services, including sales of consumer tires, farm tires and industrial tires. For more information, visit www.fusselltiresandservice.com.
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