Co-Owner Hercules Tire Sales, Inc.
Years in The Tire & Auto Repair Industry
This year we celebrated our 40th year in business
Non-Profit Give Back – Tire Shop Spotlight
We were looking for an example to highlight the impact small business has had on local communities and we came across Barbara Sicka of Hercules Tire Sales, Inc. Here is her interview.
Barbara Sicka: If you were recording me, I wouldn’t have anything to say. So I guess it’s good were just having a conversation.
It’s funny, her employees actually added more of the detail to these stories than she did. All of them seem to view her as a mother figure that has a heart of gold and cares about others.
Interviewer: “Why Do you Give so much back to non-profits?”
Barb (as her employees refer to her): We were just starting out in 1977 when our family moved to Tulsa to open our first Hercules Tire Sales location. We had nothing. We knew nothing.
We were very lucky to be coming to a city that was growing and would grow for the next 30+ years. There was nothing like us when we came to Tulsa.
I have always credited the Tulsa and surrounding communities with our success. My long-term goal was to give back to that same community.
Interviewer: “Why Do you give to the Little Light House? Is there a specific reason?”
Barb: I was a successful businessperson and I knew I needed to start giving back. So I asked a friend where I should start.
They recommended an organization and I would end up serving on that board for 3 years. But, it wasn’t what I wanted to do long term, so I kept searching.
I found the Little Light House a special needs school. I gravitated toward children; my passion is in helping children. They put me at the door greeting and that was not really a fit for my strengths.
So, I looked at a few other opportunities. Unexpectedly, the Light House contacts me back and asks for my assistance with one of their annual fundraisers. I did the majority of the organization that year, the event was a hit, and here we are 8 years later – still helping their events & marketing team.
Interviewer: “So is that what your gifts are events & marketing?”
Barb: Making money. I am good at making money. This gave me the opportunity to help them make money to cover their mission: teaching & training kids with special needs.
I found a lot of enjoyment in this, so I just kept doing it. Now I volunteer 1 day a week underneath employees of that business that have never run or own their own businesses. I become a resource, an asset, in order to be a part of their winning recipe.
Interviewer: “What all have you done for this non-profit?
Barb: Beside give monetary gifts, I have been a volunteer there for 8 years. Let’s see, I am a member of the Board of Directors, I volunteer 1 day a week in their office, I help organize events and 4 very successful fundraisers (Laps For Little Ones, Links (yearly golf tournament), Mini Laps (were the students walk laps for donations), and The Garden Party).
Interviewer: How does involvement with a non-profit directly or indirectly help you or your business?”
Barb: For the business, we receive brand recognition and very loyal customers from the families and employees. But that isn’t the reason I do these things.
Yes, it helps us stay top of mind with the banners they place at their events, the awards we’ve been privileged to win, but that isn’t it.
What I am gaining is being true to my identity, giving to others.
My father would give you the shirt off his back. He didn’t have what I have, but would give before he thought of himself. I gain an incredible amount of joy seeing this non-profit give special-needs kids a chance to maximize their own ability.
Through the ups & downs of business, it reminds me that this is why my business has been blessed, to turn around and open my hands to those that cannot do what I have done.
Interviewer: “So have you experienced ups and downs in business?”
Barb: Oh what business hasn’t. You’re always taking two steps forward, one step back in small business. Markets change, purchasing tendencies change, and so must you. Success in business is not a straight line to the sky, but a staircase, that is the true story behind any success story.
If you don’t do some type of give back, you can burn yourself out.
Interviewer: “Do you generally consider yourself a giving person? Altruistic? Are you paying it forward?
*Employee in a cubicle nearby snickers and says, “to a fault”.
Barb: I do feel like I am paying it forward because we did start here with nothing and have been greatly blessed, so I feel strongly about my conviction to give back. This city paid it forward to us and now we pay it forward to children with special needs.
Interviewer: “Did someone model this behavior for you?”
Barb: My dad. He was always a giver. Our family talks about how he gave a hitchhiker a ride and let the hitchhiker drive, while he slept. When they arrived, he gave the man $200 dollars.
The man promised to pay my dad back, which he actually did, surprisingly enough.
He was always giving to those that had no ability to repay him. And he was not wealthy, he had nothing to give, yet still gave what he had. I have modeled that behavior. With so much more in my hands, I have only hoped to be a giving person.
Interviewer: “What have you enjoyed most about owning tire & auto repair shops?”
Barb: The combination of having opportunities to give back, while watching our dream grow before our eyes.
I’ve enjoyed being successful, having instant influence. I love the thrill of expansion, and making money is a lot of fun. But without give back all of these other things would have been very hollow for me.
Interviewer: “What has been the toughest part of expanding to 5 locations?”
Barb: Not being able to personally know each employee on a personal level the way we would like.
Training is always tough.
Quality standards are what have led to our success. Making certain these new employees represent our quality standards, our mission of being in business, and have the skills to be successful, is the recipe. We’ve done a good job of it, but it has been the toughest part.
Interviewer: “How do you recommend other business owners get involved with their community?”
Barb: All in all, I have been a volunteer in the Tulsa area for about 15 years. I just started by going to my grandchildren’s schools whenever needed.
Ask a close friend connected to a nonprofit, volunteer at your church, look one up randomly online.
Above all make sure the job lines up with your passions. Sometimes the job won’t fully make sense, but as long as you line up with the organizations mission, you’ll eventually get sit in the right seat of that bus.
Personally, I always gravitated toward non-profits helping kids. This is the key. This has helped me expand to 5 locations. Auto Repair Near Me>>
Co-owner Hercules Tire Sales