A new face at Bauer Built
With the retirement of Randy Mathesen as the manager of the Blue Earth Bauer Built Tire and Service last year, the store said good-bye to the only manager the Blue Earth location had known.
But with Mathesen leaving, the job opening gave East Chain resident Adam Leschefske an opportunity to apply for – and get hired for – the position.
Leschefske, a native of Welcome, had been working at Graham Tire in Fairmont. In fact, he had been there for 15 years. He began working at Graham Tire when he was 16 years old and gradually worked his way into taking on greater responsibilities, including selling wholesale tires for Graham Tire to businesses in the Twin Cities.
“My manager at Graham Tire learned of the job opening, which was going to be occurring in Blue Earth, and encouraged me to apply for the position,” Leschefske says.
He officially began his employment at Bauer Built on June 1, 2018.
Bauer Built is headquartered in Durand, Wisconsin, and was founded in 1944 by G.F. “Sam” Bauer. The company will be 75 years old on April 18.
With the company’s recent acquisition of the commercial tire division of Allied Oil and Tire Company, Bauer Built now has 40 tire and service centers, eight Michelin Retread Technologies (MRTI) retread plants and three wheel-refinishing operations spread across 10 midwestern states.
The company also operates a bulk petroleum business, referred to as Bauer Built Oil, out of their headquarters in Durand.
It turns out Leschefske was not the only Graham Tire employee who would join the Bauer Built work force in Blue Earth.
Mason Teachout, who like Leschefske began working for Graham Tire as a teenager, began working for Bauer Built in late October of last year. He is the assistant manager.
While both men have to spend time in the office doing paperwork, they still spend a lot of time out in the shop doing the physical work the job requires.
“Coming out of the winter season, people should be checking their tires, brakes and batteries,” Leschefske notes. “With all of the potholes we are seeing in the roads, it is also a good idea to have your wheel alignment checked. Spring is also a good time to check and possibly replace your cabin air filter.”
Those are all services the Blue Earth business can handle in addition to changing oil, working on water-pumps, radiators, alternators and other routine maintenence.
Bauer Built also operates a service truck to perform off-site tire repairs.
Leschefske says there are currently six people employed at the Blue Earth site but he would like to see the number increase to seven or eight. However, he notes it has been difficult to find workers recently.
When it comes to tires, Bauer Built has tires for automobiles, pick ups, semi trucks, ag implements and tractors.
“We usually have tires in stock from Michelin, Firestone, B.F. Goodrich and Hercules,” Leschefske comments, “And we have the capability to get any brand you want.”
When it comes to the quality of tires, he says you get what you pay for.
“The more you spend on a tire, the better the quality will be,” Leschefske says.
He notes customers need to keep that in mind when deciding which tire(s) to purchase.
“If you have an older vehicle with a lot of miles and you just use it to drive back and forth a few miles to work each day, you probably don’t want to spend as much money on tires for that vehicle as opposed to a newer vehicle which is used for longer trips,” he explains.
Many of the tire manufacturing plants are in Ohio according to Leschefske, but there are other plants around the states as well as in foreign countries. He also notes pricing is very competitive in the tire industry.
Leschefske says one of the biggest changes in the tire industry has been the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).
If you are buying or driving a 2008 or newer car, truck or SUV, it has a TPMS, which uses sensors to continuously monitor pressure in the tires and warn you with a dashboard symbol when tire pressure is dangerously low. The feature is standard on all 2008 and newer models, thanks to the TREAD Act, which Congress enacted in 2000.
Information provided with TPMS warns consumers the TPMS should not be used as a substitute for regularly checking tires for proper inflation.
Repairs take longer on vehicles with TPMS because you cannot just rip out old valve stems; the repair is more complex now, according to Leschefske.
Another change in vehicles is the oil change monitoring system. He notes every vehicle seems to have a different method for resetting the system so it is hard to remember how each one works.
Part of the job requirements for Leschefske and Teachout is overseeing the business and making sure everything is lined up and products are on hand to get the jobs done on time.
Monday mornings tend to be very busy at the shop, Leschefske says. It is also not unusual for a semi to show up in the parking lot unannounced with a tire problem.
They try and take care of those instances as quickly as possible, he says. It is the nature of business to have things pop up unexpectedly.
Bauer Built is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 7:30 a.m. until noon.