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Granite City tire store marks 80 years in business – News

Scott Buenger is a second-generation owner of O’Brien Tire Service Center in Granite City, which is celebrating 80 years in business. He has seen many changes in that time, but also other aspects that remain the same. He recently talked about it with business writer Will Buss:

What has changed at your business over the years?

“We used to be a small gas station. We no longer sell gas, and we do more computer work and a lot more automation. Everything that has gone on in the world with technology has affected the tire industry. We used to have carburetors in cars and now they come with electronic fuel injection with computers in them. We used to do bubble balance, now we do computer-spin balancing.”

How long have you been working there?

“I started in 1984. It’s the only job I ever had, the same with my brother.”

Did you plan to work there?

“Yeah, pretty much. We both started working in our teens stocking shelves and pumping gas. Then, I went off to college, and when I came back, I came to work there. It was kind of expected.”

How far back has your family been working there?

Earl Buenger, Scott’s father, bought the business in 1970. “My father was not the original owner, he was the third owner. Jim O’Brien started it on March 17, 1932. He then gave the business to Bruce Marler in the ’50s. My dad started working here in 1951 out of high school. He then went into the war in Korea and then ended up working here when he came back. He’s been retired for 20 years. My daughter Bryttany is now working here.”

What have you enjoyed most about it?

“It’s the people, the customer base. This is a great community. It’s one of the only communities where you can walk outside and talk to your neighbor, and he will talk to you. Granite City gets a bad rap for being a steel mill town. I don’t live in the city now, but we bought a house here and plan to move back. It’s a great, great community. I can’t say enough about it. It’s been a pleasure to serve the community for the past 80 years, and we hope we can do it for another 80 years.”

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