Just as people helped Paul Zurcher realize his dreams, today he empowers others to identify their dreams and make them happen.
"My father was a tenant farmer with seven children, and we struggled. Through that I learned the most valuable lesson about life: 10% is what happens to us, while the other 90% is how we respond," says Paul Zurcher, owner of Zurcher Tire, Inc.
After serving in World War II, Zurcher returned home and bought his first car "with all the money I had." Then he started working at a service station, pumping gas.
"It was a one-bay service station, and one morning a friend told me I should go into business for myself," Zurcher says. "I went to the bank with a dream and no money. It was 1948, and I got a loan for $300 for operating capital."
Zurcher's dream was actually bigger – he wanted a three-bay station. He also wanted the corner spot in Monroe.
"When I had enough money for a three-bay station, I negotiated with the people living in the house on the corner, moved the home, and built my dream," Zurcher says. "Over the years, I then grew the business by connecting people and opportunities."
His greatest joy, Zurcher says, comes from helping others succeed. Through partnerships he helps someone open the store of their dreams and lets them guide the day-to-day operations.
"The key to our success is strong relationships with suppliers and store partners, people I trust and who are motivated to succeed," Zurcher says. "We are stockholders with our partners in 251 locations in 14 states now, including retail, commercial, and wholesale stores and specialty stores for farming, retread, and off-the-road needs."
The company is the largest Bridgestone/Firestone independent dealer in the nation. The success of Zurcher Tire and his dedication to the business and his partners earned Zurcher the Modern Tire Dealer Tire Dealer of the Year recognition in 2005 and induction into the National Tire Dealers and Retreaders Hall of Fame two years later.
To give his family opportunities to be successful too, many of Zurcher's children and grandchildren are involved in the business. His sons Larry and Mark are now responsible for managing many aspects of the company, although Zurcher is not ready to retire.
"Retirement is not a word I know," he says," and I'll be active in the company for a long time yet."
Active also describes Zurcher's community involvements. He supports many different projects, because "people have given so much to us." His commitments have included service on the boards of Taylor University, the town of Monroe, Swiss Village Retirement Community, Habitat for Humanity, and numerous other organizations. He was named United Way Volunteer of the Year in 1997, and he donated funds to help create the Adams Central Scholarship Program and Little League baseball fields and to improve the football field. He served on the auxiliary board of Adams Memorial Hospital to determine the future of that hospital. Today, a new and thriving hospital serves the needs of Adams County. In 2008, he was awarded a Doctor of Business Administration degree from Taylor University, in recognition for his dedication to his community, his achievements in business, and his support of others.