By LOU WILIN
It comes as no surprise to Findlay residents that Cooper Service sells Cooper tires. But the business at 401 E. Main Cross St. also does much more.
“We also offer service, full service, such as oil changes, brake jobs, alignments, shocks, struts, front-end work, transmission services, coolant system flushes,” said Chris Lewis, retail store manager for Cooper Service.
In fact, Cooper Service, which is owned by Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., positions itself as one-stop shopping for vehicle needs.
If a customer has a car problem that Cooper Service does not handle, it will — with the customer’s permission — get the vehicle to another reputable local business to address the issue. It does business with Automotive Electronics, Fornes Brake Service, LaRiche, C&S Radiator, Fields Service, Laubes Transmission, Findlay Transmission Service Center and others.
In return, those companies give tire business to Cooper Service.
“We’ve got a lot of customers that just drop their vehicles off to us. If we find a problem we can’t handle, we’ll take care of it logistically, get it to that other facility, talk to them,” Lewis said. “They give us the estimate, we call the customer, tell them what we found, what they found.”
With the customer’s approval, the auto work gets done. Cooper Service then gets the vehicle. The customer comes in to Cooper Service to pay the bill and pick up his vehicle.
It’s a win-win for everybody.
“We’ve taken care of the customer. That’s the bottom line,” Lewis said. “We’ve taken care of that individual, and they’re going to remember that.”
Lewis has been with Cooper Service for 18 years. Before that, he helped open Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center at 12000 Hancock County 99, near what then was Findlay Ford. Lewis was working for the Kujawa family, who owned the businesses.
As manager of Quick Lane he bought a lot of tires from Cooper Service, and got to know the management there well.
One day he decided it was time to move on and go back to work for a former employer. He had mixed feelings about that, because the job would have involved much travel and he had a 6-year-old son.
Cooper Service came along at just the right moment and offered him a position working at the counter. He was happy to take the job, being able to work and stay in Findlay. He also came to Cooper Service already equipped with a good understanding of Cooper tires.
Over the years, Lewis worked his way up to retail store manager.
“I like the fact that I’m working for an American company still. Cooper is one of two tire manufacturers that is U.S.-owned, American owned,” he said. “I enjoy working for Cooper. Cooper has been very good to me.”
“And I enjoy working with the people that walk in the door,” Lewis said. “People come to us because they’ve got a problem. They’ve got a problem with a tire, they’ve got a problem with a car. I enjoy the fact that we are able to, as a team, help them solve that problem, to help them get some resolution. If I can’t fix it for them, I will get them to the right individual that we believe will do the right job for them.”
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