In its 35th year, Pat’s Tire still rolling
By Eric Mathes
Eric Mathes photo
Working in the newly expanded workshop, Josh Lemke (left) and Chris Hill show why tractor tires are often a two-man job.

2013 was a very big year for Pat’s Tire Sales & Service Inc. in Chilton.

On Monday, Sept. 30 they relocated a half mile down the road to their new site at N4040 CTH C.

Celebrating their 35th year in business, owners Pat and Karen Koenigs realized that in order to maintain a high level of customer service with a rapidly growing volume of business, the new facility was a must.

A larger and more comfortable office complete with a customer waiting area is the first thing customers notice.

The shop area is significantly larger and designed to dramatically increase efficiency and production.

Also, increased warehousing and yard space allows Pat’s Tire to offer a more complete inventory to its customers.

Empowering the next generation

The growing Pat’s Tire Team is currently comprised of 15 employees.

In the office, co-owner Pat Koenigs takes care of on-the-road sales. Co-owner Karen Koenigs manages the office and business. Josh Lemke manages buildings and equipment and also helps with agricultural sales. Brad Koenigs manages the inventory and the service work done in the shop. Michelle Koenigs manages customer accounts and doubles as a receptionist.

Shop employees include Chris Hill, shop supervisor; Ben Bauer, shop technician and inventory; Jerad Rausch, shop technician and ag wheel refinishing; and Preston Schwalenberg, shop technician and inventory.

Even with the recent move to the new shop, Pat’s Tire’s main focus is still agriculture.

Covering a territory spanning north to Pound, south to Racine, east to the lake-shore, and west to Omro, onsite service is still essential to the business.

Road service technicians Jeremy Buboltz, Troy Woelfel, Jordan Baumann, Josh Diedrich, and Tony Boettcher specialize in the tire and wheel assemblies that fit today’s rapidly evolving agriculture equipment. Ray Hoerth provides pickup and delivery.

Owners Pat and Karen Koenigs reflect on the past 35 years of business to create a proactive approach for the future.

“Our business is very family oriented,” Karen said. “We are helping transition our employees as we look ahead for the next generation.”

Family employees are son-in-law Josh Lemke, son Brad Koenigs, and daughter-in-law Michelle Koenigs.

Brad has been with the family business since 1995 and full time since 2006. He is in charge of purchasing all the inventory. With a wide range of sizes, brands and suppliers, deliveries come in on a daily basis. Brad’s organizational skills help the company stay efficient.

Josh, who has been with the business since 1997, was the lead technician on the road for many years. He is currently transitioning into the office, learning more about the organization and management of the company. His knowledge and experience are key for him to play a large role in agriculture sales.

Michelle’s place in the office is focused around answering phones and handling all the customer accounts. Michelle is also a key player in developing new technology implementation at the new facility.

“We are creating a very team oriented business,” Karen said, “All of our employees are there to help each other out on a daily basis. Our business is very fast paced and we handle a lot of clients. We do it efficiently because we all work together.”

Keeping up with industry needs

What has allowed Pat’s Tire to grow over 35 years is their ability to adapt to the needs of their customers.

Maybe no greater changes have been made than in the agriculture industry. As farmers began to utilize more advanced technology in their operations over the last few decades, the Koenigs saw a shift in the industry’s planning and maintenance needs.

Having knowledge and experience with the specialized equipment used by modern farms, and then investing in the tools necessary to work on this equipment, has been key to their success.

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