Despino's Tire Service hosts grand opening event
Members of the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce and the community at large welcomed the owners and staff of Despino's Tire Service to the community on Friday with a grand opening and ribbon cutting event.
The location is the seventh owned and operated by Randy and Julie Despino and represents their first location in Center. The other locations are in Louisiana.
Chamber Ambassador Chairwoman Andrea Johnston Foster welcomed the business to the Shelby County business environment.
“We're so excited to have you here to be a part of our county and our family,” she said. “On behalf of the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Ambassadors we congratulate you and thank you for opening your doors to the community.”
Foster said the chamber is in place to serve its members like Despino Tire Service.
“We're here to serve you as you serve us,” she said.
Randy Despino said the family and staff definitely felt welcome as he was impressed with the turnout by chamber members and the general public. The grand opening also featured lunch served by the crew, drawings and give aways along with a vintage car show hosted by members of the Shelby County Cruisers.
Drawings were held for two $500 gift cards, a set of tires, ice chests and more.
He said one of the hallmarks of each location is an attractive and clean waiting area for customers.
“We feel strongly that our clean facility sets us apart from most other tire stores,” he said. While the location has only been open in Center for four months, Despino said the firm has served a lot of Shelby County area customers for years.
“This is an extremely good market and I've always wanted a store here,” he said. “When this location came available we jumped on it.”
The location at 159 U.S. Highway 96 South was formerly an oil service firm's yard. He said Trey Byrnes is the manager of the Center store.
“We have seven locations with Alexandria being the home office,” Despino said. Other stores are located in Natchitoches, Mansfield, three in Shreveport and now the location in Center.”
The company also has propane locations in Louisiana.
He said Despino's Tire Service has about 110 employees with each location offering complete tire service. The firm does a large commercial business with firms in the forestry, logging, mining and oil field industries in addition to providing complete services to individual car and truck owners.
“We do 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week service,” Despino said. “All of our stores are equipped to offer complete service. We do it all, front end alignments, brakes, shocks, truck alignments, truck balancing, complete mechanical work.”
Another aspect of the locations is that the company has a philosophy of community involvement.
“We're really involved a lot in the community,” he said. “Regardless of whether it's a school raising money or working with the Children's Miracle Network.”
Despino's Tire Service has been a big sponsor of the Children's Miracle Network for about 15 years and annually has put on a big fishing tournament on Toledo Bend Lake.
“In the last three years we've raised about $80,000 for them,” Despino said. That money is split between hospitals in Shreveport and Alexandria and helps a lot of children, he said.
Julie Despino said the whole company gets involved and behind supporting the fundraising activities.
“Our salesmen work with the community and go out and ask for donations to help,” she said. “It's definitely a company wide event that everyone gets involved with.”
Randy Despino said some employees have been with the firm 30 years or longer.
“We pride ourselves on taking care of our customers 100 percent,” he said. “We're family owned and family operated.”
For photo gallery of Friday's grand opening event, please click here: