Bucking the trend, open for business

Published 8:48 pm Saturday, December 8, 2012


CHOCOWINITY —There aren’t a lot of first names used at Southside Tires.

Instead, it’s “Grandpa” and “Dad” heard most often.

The new tire shop is a family business owned and operated by the Buck family: Eva, Dalton (known simply as “Buck” in most circles) and son, Ryan; and Eva’s dad, Horace Frankie Bright.

A retired farmer and truck driver, Bright came up with the idea to open a tire shop. He said he saw that there was a need for one in the area. Southside Tires is located across from Southside High School at the intersections of North Carolina Highway 33 East, Possum Track and Bright roads. They sell, rotate, balance and mount new and used tires. Eva said oil changes and state checks may be added in the near future.

Southside is one of three businesses the family started in the last six weeks.

Eva started the trend with New 2 U, a second-hand retail shop in Chocowinity Town Center she opened the last week of October.

Buck and Eva owned and operated four local Subway franchises, two in Beaufort County. They decided to sell them because Buck has Parkinson’s Disease. He had to have a lighter schedule and Eva needed to be closer to home to tend to him, if needed.

She hired her niece, Teresa Lewis, to run daily operations of New 2 U.

“She does a really good job with it. It’s great. You don’t have to ever worry about anybody calling in sick or leaving you hanging,” Eva said. “The way I was raised, family is everything. You honor your word.”

Ryan and Buck started a venture a few weeks later. Ryan is the owner of Southeastern Coatings Spray-on Bedliners and Buck invested in the business.

Ryan considers his dad as part owner. He and his dad took certified training to install the truck bedliners and are distributors of bedlining supplies for the area. They built their own “clean room” to do the work at the Buck home.

Ryan does the bedliners by appointment only because he spends most days alongside his Grandpa Frankie, and parents at Southside Tires. The shop opened a few weeks after Southeastern Coatings.

“I love working with family. It’s a lot better than working with someone you don’t know,” Ryan said.

Eva said her parents were looking for a way to supplement their retirement income.

“My parents came t me a few months ago. They certainly couldn’t rely on Social Security or anything like that to sustain them,” she said.

Frankie said his daughter and son-in-law used to pitch in on his tobacco farm. Working together again came naturally.

Eva said there is no “boss” at Southside.

“We just do what needs to be done,” Eva said. “But we do look to my dad for guidance.”

Eva had advice for anyone planning to start a business in this economy. She said to shop around for the best quotes and chances are, the quotes will come from small local businesses. The Bucks used local plumbers, electricians and concrete pourers.

“Avoid the big names and you’ll get better pricing because everybody is feeling the squeeze,” she said.

Eva also had advice for those who plan to go into business with family.

“Have parameters and don’t cross lines,” she said. “Keep business business and family family.”