by M.T. Decker
Country Roads Tire and Auto started in 1990 when husband and wife Russel and Maryanne Kelvington decided to start a Goodyear Franchise in Martinsburg WV. From the start, they wanted the business to remain an independent, family-owned shop.
They worked hard, supporting their community and building their business. It was my pleasure to meet the Kelvingtons two years ago as they were transitioning the company to the next generation, their son, Bryan.
Since then, they opened a second location in Hedgesville, WV.
I recently caught up with Bryan Kelvington at their Hedgesville, WV shop. I was glad to see that he, and the company were doing well.
“Part of the dream,” he told me, “was to open another shop in Berkeley County.”
In November 2017, they realized that dream when Country Roads Tire and Auto opened their second location in the old Hedgesville fire station in the historic downtown area of Hedgesville, WV.
After the new fire hall opened, the building served as a pawn shop before Country Roads moved in.
“There isn’t much you can do with a building with four garage bays,” Bryan pointed out. “Things just kind of fell into place.”
It was a perfect match for Country Roads. The main shop, in Berkeley Plaza had hit the point where they had to turn people away, and services had to be scheduled well in advance.
People don’t want to have to go into town if they don’t have to, especially when they can get the same quality of service closer to home.
One of the goals of Country Roads has always been to serve the community and provide their customers the best service at the best price; expanding their service area and adding a second shop allowed them to do that.
Adding another location allowed them to serve their customers better.
Talking about the old Fire House, Bryan told me, “It’s nice to take an old building, do a mild renovation, put it to good use and still honor the building’s history.”
They had to adapt the building for their own use, but with a four-bay garage opening up to the main thoroughfare through Hedgesville and points east, it was an ideal location.
“People pass by us every day on their way to work, and they know where we are.”
It’s convenient and Bryan estimates that about 15% of their customer base came from Hedgesville and he knew them from the Martinsburg shop. The rest of the clients have learned about them from passing by and word of mouth.
While the old firehouse did have the four garage bays, there were a lot of modifications they had to do to turn the historic building into a working shop.
“We had to build the entrance,” Bryan explained, pointing out that the new entrance used to be a set of stairs heading to the basement.
“There were two sets of stairs, so we had to lose one to make better use of the space. We just couldn’t afford to waste the space.”
“We had to add lifts, and the showroom had to be built.”
All the while, they were careful to honor the historical value of the building while bringing it up to code.
The result is a shop that is an independent tire dealer based on the mission statement his parents stated almost 30 years ago when they opened the original Country Roads, Tire and Auto in Martinsburg, WV.
Russel had taught his son to “buy from local independent dealers; serve your community and local schools; take pride in what you do; go the extra mile for your customer.” It is as true today as it was then.
Another way of providing quality service was to join Tire Pros, a national network of over thirty-thousand independent shops.
It allows them to offer the price breaks of larger dealerships and shops while maintaining their Independence. It also means they can offer their customers peace of mind when it comes to tire purchases or repairs.
Tire Pros allows them to provide warranty service at any of the 30,000 network shops across the country.
Service, which includes towing; lockout service; fuel, oil, and water delivery; and jump starts.
It also gives them the purchasing power of the larger box stores and lets them give customers a better price option.
All you need to do is look at the customer reviews to see what to expect from the folks at Country Tire and Auto, whether you visit them in Martinsburg or Hedgesville.
One customer had this to say in a review of Country Tire and auto: “Fast and friendly tire service in Martinsburg and just opened up a shop in Hedgesville as well. Fair prices and have done all our tire repair/new tire work since our first visit. Tire shops can be very shady, but we have had nothing but positive interaction with Country roads.”
Another had this to say about the shop in Hedgesville: “Great customer service. Very personable employees. Fast and easy appointment making. Lots of customers in and out of office so for being so newly opened the area has taken quickly to them!”
These reviews are a testimony to the Country Roads Tire and Auto mission statement – treat your customers well, give them the best possible price and the best service you can, support your community and do right by your customers.
When asked about the business Bryan told me, “We’re here to serve the community, not only through offering good repairs, but also the ability to give back to the community.
Country Roads has long been a sponsor of little league teams and the local high schools. They participate in fundraisers and believe in helping people in need.
“Everybody has somewhere to be; they have things going on in their lives that we can’t understand – but they need to get there, and if we can give them good, reliable service, we can make sure they can get there.”
To this day, the goal of Country Roads is to give good honest, quality service at a fair rate with an excellent nationwide warranty.
“We’re growing,” Bryan stated with a smile. “It’s been a steady growth since we added the new shop.”
“We still have people coming in saying ‘We didn’t know you had a shop in Hedgesville…’
As Country Roads prepares for its 30th celebration just over a year away, they offer their thanks to the community they serve.
“We appreciate our customers, we wouldn’t be here without them!” Bryan said. “Who knows, maybe we’ll open a shop in Inwood,” he added with a smile.
Country Roads Tire and Auto continues to grow. Check them out online at: CountryRoadsTireOnline.com you can visit them at their Martinsburg location in Berkeley Plaza at 629 Williamsport Pike Martinsburg, WV 25404 and now in Hedgesville at 117 West Main St. Hedgesville, WV 25427