For those of you that remember our showroom/office prior to 1981, this is the same space. Just 40 years earlier. We believe this photo was taken around 1940. That is Mack in the middle, his daughter Jeanette on the left and Ralph Appel on the right. Ralph worked at Meckfessel Tire Company over 40 years.
In March of 1927, Henry "Mack" Meckfessel partnered with John Pintar, owner of Pintar Tire in Collinsville, Illinois, to open Pintar Tire in Belleville, Illinois. The original Belleville store was located at 1214 West Main Street. That same year Mack married Emily "Millie" Batha. mtc old drawning cropped 11710.JPG After only a year in business, the partners went their separate ways. Mack bought out John and renamed the business Meckfessel Tire Company. Mack also purchased property at 415 West Main Street in Belleville and relocated. That building still remains as part of the current Belleville facility. Mack and Emily made their home in an apartment above the business and started a family. They had two children, Jeanette and William.
The depression hit and times were very difficult. As the depression was winding down, Mack took a chance and purchased tire recapping equipment. Meckfessel Tire Company became the first recap shop in the area. His competitors were critical of the safety and reliability of recaps making it very difficult to sell them until World War II began and new tires were rationed by the government. It was nearly impossible to get a ration ticket for even one tire. Recaps became the only option, with some tires being recapped over and over again. During the war, Mack's recap shop ran 24/7. Each night, Mack came downstairs every two hours to change the tires in his four molds. During the day, cars were dropped off to have the tire recapped. The car would be jacked up and tires removed. The tires would then be dismounted, recapped, remounted and re-installed on the car by the end of the day. They had the capacity to do eight tires or two cars each day.
After surviving 20 very lean years the business began to grow and prosper. Through the 1950's recapping tires was still prevalent but new tires became more readily available. Eventually recapping tires became the exception and business trended towards other automotive services, including batteries, brakes and wheel alignments.
In the early 1960's, William (Bill) Meckfessel was finishing up college and working at a tire shop in Mattoon, Illinois. Somewhere in his last semester of school Bill realized his interest in the tire business. After graduating from Eastern Illinois University with a degree in accounting, Bill moved back to Belleville and started working with Mack at Meckfessel Tire Company. Bill married Jean Ruser in 1963 and started a family in 1965. That same year he took over running Meckfessel Tire Company. While Mack was offically retired, he and Emily continued to live above the business. In 1968, Mack and Emily purchased their first home separate from the business.
scan0008.jpgBill continued to grow the business both in the retail and wholesale market. In 1972 he opened Mac's Tire Shack in Springfield, Illinois. Mac's Tire Shack was a small independent tire outlet in a time and place where the big company owned stores ruled the market. Like Meckfessel Tire Company in Belleville they offered competitive pricing and great customer service. Having a store in Springfield that needed tires delivered weekly gave Bill the opportunity to expand the wholesale operation from the metro east market north to Springfield.
As the tire business grew, full service gas stations started to diminish. Full service gas stations were slowly being replaced by self serve pumps and the service bays were replaced with convenience stores. Bill realized his customers wanted more. There was a void in the market. No longer could you have a tune up and oil change at the corner filling station. More and more Meckfessel Tire Company focused on auto service, with the same great customer service that built the tire business.
In 1987, the state of Illinois purchased the entire block where Mac's Tire Shack stood and put up a large office building. Unable to find a suitable replacement facility, Mac's Tire Shack closed after serving Springfield Illinois for 15 years.
Through the 1980's and 1990's, Bill's children worked at Meckfessel Tire Company. They learned the business, got a college education and went on to find their own careers.
Bill and Jean Meckfessel had four children: Mark, Kurt, Kent, and Mandy. Today, all of the siblings except Kurt are involved in the operation of Meckfessel Tire and Auto. Each of the three bring an array of experience and a different perspective of the tire and auto industry.
Mandy Wuebbels oversees the financial operation. Prior to joining Meckfessel Tire and Auto she worked for Toyota Financial Services and a local bankruptcy attorney.
Kent Meckfessel's expertise is the technical side of the business. Kent focuses on technical training of the employees, quality control of our work and solving those difficult, in-depth diagnostics and repairs. Kent served as a technical trainer and diagnostician, and he also managed multiple locations for Midas, International during the mid 1990's.
Mark Meckfessel rounds out the management team by focusing on sales, customer relations and marketing of Meckfessel Tire and Auto. Mark served as a District Service Manager for Toyota in the late 1980's prior to coming back to family buisness.
The third generation opened the Smithton location in June of 2006 and their page in the Meckfessel Tire and Auto history is still being written.
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