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Fountain Tire proud to be a local family business

For brothers Jeff and Colin Hunter, being the owners of Fountain Tire in Thunder Bay is a true family affair.

For brothers Jeff and Colin Hunter, being the owners of Fountain Tire in Thunder Bay is a true family affair.

“My grandfather Ron had a tire and muffler shop back in the 1980s out in Drumheller, Alta.,” Jeff said.

“My dad Darcy started working there when he was 15 and had some success … then he packed up the whole wagon and we moved out here in 2000 for an opportunity with Fountain Tire.”

When the Hunters came to Thunder Bay, the location that Darcy took over was on Bay Street.

A couple of years later, he opened up a mechanical shop on Memorial Avenue.

Then in 2004, he amalgamated both businesses and moved into the building on the corner of Central Avenue and Balmoral Street, where Fountain Tire is located to this day.

“Since then, we’ve expanded into the rest of the building here and added some warehouse space,” Jeff said.

“It’s been exciting to see that growth happen and it’s all been based on demand and our need to increase our footprint and our staff in order to keep up with what our customers are asking of us.”

While one might think that because of their name, Fountain Tire just does tires, but that’s not the case.

“We’ve got the full-service shop that actually takes up almost half of our footprint here and we’ve got 12 staff dedicated to mechanical repairs alone,” Jeff said.

Tires though are a very large part of the business for the Hunters, who are also looking towards the future.

One of their goals is to ensure that 100 per cent of the tires that they sell are recyclable by 2026.

“At the beginning of last year, Fountain Tire really started working on a sustainability program to try and do our part to make sure that we’re not leaving the world any worse off than it was when we got here,” Jeff said.

“It’s a project that Fountain Tire is just starting to embark on, but it is interesting to be part of something quite forward thinking like this.”

For the Hunters, having Fountain Tire be a family-owned business is extremely important, especially in keeping that local connection in Thunder Bay.

“We want to keep everything we do in Thunder Bay, whether that’s through the purchases we make and the charitable work that we are involved with,” Jeff said.

“We’re part of this community as well and when investing in projects or charities, we want to make sure that it’s affecting Thunder Bay. That’s definitely something that we are proud of here.

“I believe there is an inclination for people to believe that because we are part of a chain, that we are not local and we are just a big box type operation. To be honest, it’s a lot of hard work and a lot of hours by our entire team here in Thunder Bay and something that we are really proud of.”

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