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The story begins in 1944 when G.F. “Sam” Bauer, founded what is now Bauer Built Inc. as an oil jobbership in Durand, Wisconsin.

“The focus of the company, in the beginning, was to sell petroleum products to local service stations and farm accounts,” said Tad Bauer, who now serves as president of Bauer Built.

The company expanded very early on, getting into the retail business by opening its own gas station.

In 1954, Bauer Built began manufacturing retreaded tires. By 1963, it had grown to more than $2 million in sales and with full ownership of the company, Sam continued to expand the tire division.

In the late 1960s, his family members started join the business. By 1975, the company had grown to sales in excess of $10 million and was operating tire centers in Eau Claire and Durand, Wisconsin, as well as a retread manufacturing facility and other businesses in Durand.

In 1976, Sam sold the majority of his interest in the company to his sons and sons-in-law and turned over the day-to-day management of the company. He ultimately retired from full-time duty in 1980 and passed away in 1994 after 50 years of service and dedication to the company.

Under a second-generation leadership, the company continued to grow and to expand by acquiring tire centers, retread manufacturing facilities, and wholesale distribution centers across the Midwest.

In April, Bauer Built purchased the tire division of Allied Oil & Tire, adding seven commercial tire and service centers and one Michelin Retread Technologies plant. With the new Allied locations, the company now has 38 commercial tire centers, seven retread manufacturing plants, one wholesale division and three rim and wheel reconditioning plants in states such as: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, Illinois and Nebraska.

“Geographically, the acquisition helped Bauer Built strengthen its current position in existing markets, fill some voids in our current footprint, and provided some expansion in new areas,” Bauer said.

Bauer Built provides tires and related mechanical services to commercial fleets, the agricultural industry and passenger and light truck consumers. In Iowa, nine locations are equipped to take care of the agricultural producer with tires from leading manufacturers like Michelin, Firestone, Alliance and Camso. The company also provides in-the-field or in-the-yard service around the clock.

“Ag producers’ decisions are more informed than ever before,” commercial sales director Dan Hayden said.

Now it’s more important than ever to provide follow up service, he added.

“Ag tires have evolved from afterthoughts that are black and round and hold air, to high-dollar investments designed and engineered to be an integral component in realizing bottom line profitability,” Hayden said.

Being such an important part of the equipment, it’s fitting that tire dealers have heavy-duty service techs that know the features and benefits of these high-tech tires, he added. In many cases, they carry portable scales with them to correctly set the air pressure, which can maximize tire performance.

“The continual advancement of technology leads to new products and solutions,” Hayden said.

Advancements come through extensive research and development, and at a high cost. To develop an increased flex or a very-high-flex tire that carries 20 or 40% more load, Hayden said, you have to be able to sell that advantage.

And it’s all about continuing to make advancements, he said. Those flex tires and machines with tracks are becoming more common in the agricultural industry. Now machines with central tire inflation systems are pushing the envelope even further, he said.

In order to make all this happen, talent manager Heather DeNamur said it takes a great workforce.

“You have to have better people in the field than ever before to explain the new technology advancements and the benefits for the end-user,” she said. “If your people are bringing solutions to your customers and making an investment in helping them achieve their goals, you will have a huge step up on the competition.”

“Our almost 600 employees are what differentiates Bauer Built from our competition,” DeNamur added. “They are the ones living our business philosophies every day. They demonstrate and promote safe work behaviors and work together effectively to make our customers want to do business with us. It’s the relationships that our employees build with our customers that stand the test of time.” meet our clients’ service needs, regardless of whether it’s a single driver or an entire fleet,” he said. “Our customer commitment is, ‘to provide a level of service that is the best and then strive to make it better.’”

Kerry Hoffschneider can be reached at editorial@midwestmessenger.com

Kerry Hoffschneider is a freelance writer for the Midwest Messenger, based in eastern Nebraska. Reach her at editorial@midwestmessenger.com.