Hi! I’m Spencer owner of Kenwood Tire & Auto Service in West Bridgewater MA and this is my story
Inheriting a family business may be a matter of predestination, but inheriting the in-laws’ business – especially as an industry newbie and an immigrant – is clearly a freewheeling case of free will.
And that’s just the kind of adventure that I was raised to experience.
Born in the Swingin’ Sixties to wanderlust parents, I moved from my native England to the Persian Gulf island of Bahrain and again to Cape Town, South Africa, all by the time I was 14.
Early exposure to various cultures gave me the people skills that are crucial to being a successful entrepreneur.
But my global experience didn’t always ring like a rousing chorus of “We Are the World.”
After high school, I served a mandatory two-year “national service” during the height of Apartheid, leaving me disillusioned by conditions in South Africa. So, in 1988, I moved back to his native England to study construction management. And there, across the proverbial pond, I met my to-be American wife, Holly.
Arriving in Boston with a backpack and $200 in my pocket, I needed money. So I painted Holly’s father’s tire store and, after we got married, worked as a tire changer there.
When Ken Wood became sick, the family didn’t know what to do. None of the kids wanted anything to do with (the business), but I saw an opportunity and that’s when I began my adventure with Kenwood Tire Company in West Bridgewater, Mass., officially buying the business with Holly in 1995.
I knew nothing about tires or cars, but I met good people and mentors, and religiously read all the trade magazines, and joined tire dealer associations.
Kenwood Tire now is a $1.2 million business, with five employees and three bays.
In the tire and auto business, you need to be a people person and you genuinely have to want to help people, but you also need to give and leave a good impression.
I love providing a unique experience so everyone feels special in some way.
My advice to immigrants and tire entrepreneurs, therefore, isn’t very surprising – Don’t let fear hold you back if you have a dream.
You can find the Kenwood Tire story here.