After 48 years with the same business, Casey Hoftiezer is retiring as manager of the W.W. Tire Service in Pierre.
“I started right out of high school, Stanley County in 1973,” Hoftiezer said. “I knew the owner, Gordon Anderson of Anderson Tire in Fort Pierre. I started full-time, doing mostly retreading of car and truck tires.”
Anderson is still around, living in Pierre. As a teenager, Hoftiezer had some experience with hard work and with vehicles. “Dad did road construction and we pretty much went where the work was,” he said.
Originally, the Anderson Tire building was behind the current grocery store in Fort Pierre. After a fire destroyed the structure, Anderson rebuilt at the business’s current location of Highway 83 South.
When it reopened in the early 1990s, Hoftiezer was put in as manager.
“Gordon Anderson decided that was the thing to do. I don’t really recall why; that was a long time ago,” Hoftiezer said. “It was a little bit of a different atmosphere back then. You did what you had to do — everything. Just because I was the manager didn’t mean I didn’t work in the shop. I still work in the shop when I have to, not much but.”
“Years ago I used to sometimes have to run the service truck, doing tractor tires. That was an eye-opener. They are big and hard to work with; I appreciate the guys who did it,” he said.
Another Anderson Tire location was in Pierre; then and now at 310 S. Sioux Ave. In 1995 Hoftiezer moved over as the manager in the Pierre store. Both places remained Anderson Tire until, in 2006, they became W.W. Tire.
There are now six other W.W. Tires locations: Bryant, Winner, Clark, Watertown, Brookings and Huron. Hoftiezer is busy, with the store offering over 14 different tire brands and many vehicle repair and maintenance services.
Hoftiezer’s store is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays. Under Hoftiezer’s management, the business in Pierre is rated five stars by customers.
“Things have worked out. I like the customers, and I get along with my bosses,” Hoftiezer said. “When it comes to retiring now, I just decided it. I’m 65, going on 66. My wife, Phyllis, and I thought it was time. And, with Covid around the last year, we realized that life is kind of short. She’s retired, and she’s ready for me to retire.”
“The best thing about my job is I like my customers. I’ve known many of them for years. We’ve developed a working relationship,” Hoftiezer said.
Usually, Hoftiezer has five workers in the shop, plus Assistant Manager Todd Mercer. The business works on about 20-30 vehicles per day; mainly through appointments but they help drive-up customers when they can.
After Hoftiezer retires, Mercer, who has 30 years with the company already, is taking over as manager.
“I plan on relaxing, taking it easy,” Hoftiezer said. “I’m a golfer, and I golf quite a bit. Phyllis golfs a little bit but not much.”
Hoftiezer and some friends also rebuild cars. “I’ve got plenty of projects to do,” he said. He plans on visiting Sioux Falls a lot, since his daughter, an accountant, and his son, a head traffic engineer, live there.
A retirement open house is set for Thursday, March 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will also serve as a ‘Welcome Todd’ party.