photo of owner Chuck Luck
When buying tires, how do you know if you’re getting the type of tires you need, if you’re replacing the number of tires you really need to replace, or if you’re paying too much for your tires? Do your research, says Chuck Luck, owner of Chuck Luck Tire & Auto, 3902 West River Drive in downtown Comstock Park, adding, “Google the tires you’re buying…read the reviews…look at the prices.”
Entering the front door at Chuck Luck Tire & Auto, you are immediately walking down an aisle between what feels like two towering walls of tires, and there is another wall of tires at the end of the aisle where you turn right to go to the counter. Near the counter, there is a vintage candy and pop machine, which Luck said people enjoy. All those tires are like paradise to Luck. He loves his product, but there is a part of his job he’s not so fond of. “I love tires and people,” said Luck, “but I don’t like to sell.”
So instead of sales he says his job is all about “helping people in need.” Luck has worked in the tire business since he graduated from Central High School. He started part-time at Discount Tire on Alpine Avenue where he worked for 25 years until starting his own business.
He opened a store in Kentwood with a partner. The two opened a second store in Comstock Park in 2012 and closed the Kentwood store in 2014. Luck became the sole owner of the business when his partner left. Luck recently opened another shop in Wyoming.
There are two full-time employees and one part time employee at the Comstock Park shop. Luck said he looked for a location for a shop on Plainfield Avenue before settling on Comstock Park, but a lot of paperwork and a large down payment was required. “Comstock Park is a very good location,” said Luck. “The people are friendly, down-to-earth…rent is reasonable.”
He recently was able to expand the store from the garage that housed his business into the building next door which tripled his space. That has allowed Luck to keep a larger inventory of tires on hand, shortening his customers’ wait time. A plus about the Comstock Park location is the nearby restaurants, the library, the White Pine Trail just behind his shop, and Dwight Lydell Park across the street, where people can pass the time while waiting for their new tires.
Luck sells new and used tires for passenger cars, light trucks and SUVs. The shop offers tire balancing, tire rotation and flat repairs. Luck said most of his business comes from referrals and Craig’s List as well as the web site. He is looking to start offering towing services. Luck’s business motto is, “We’re dedicated to honesty, outstanding service, and low prices.”
Wheels have been around since ancient times. The first wheels were simple wooden discs and date back at least to 3500 BC. They were on animal-drawn carts. Many improvements have been since then to arrive at the modern tire such as axils and spokes. Then came the pneumatic or air-filled tire in 1888 which made for a much smoother ride, and 1910 saw rubber being use to make tires. More recently, construction of tires has been geared toward safety and fuel-efficiency.
Luck, who lives in Rockford, has four children ranging in age from 25 to 12 years old. When he’s not working, which is seldom since he open his new shop, Luck likes to study religion and help recovering addicts.