PORTLAND — Nearly as old as its name, Century Tire Co. will close on Friday.
“Business, like a book, has a beginning and an end,” company President Dick Aronson said Tuesday after announcing the company will close after 88 years in business.
Established on Washington Avenue in 1926, Century Tire grew to have four shops throughout Portland and in North Windham.
Aronson said he was proud to be an original tenant of the Pine Tree Shopping Center on Brighton Avenue in 1974, but he also knew what it took to have loyal customers.
“My customers don’t come here because of bricks and mortar,” he said. “They come because nobody can touch our service.”
But Aronson, 78, said he has decided to retire, so the remaining shop on Kennebec Street near Bayside will close Friday. Customers with tire warranties and free tire rotations will be serviced at Sullivan Tire locations.
Aronson, who lives in Falmouth, joined the company in 1961 after leaving the U.S. Army, and worked in the tire retread shop on Kennebec Street, “which I loved,” he said.
Friday’s closing was announced to 24 employees “some time ago,” he said.
“This is very bittersweet, for all of us in my family and longtime employees,” he said. “It is a very, very difficult process to go through, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.”
Customers have sent him letters and emails thanking him for years of service, and Aronson said he is grateful for their support. He also said he remains proud of his employees and the company tradition.
“We happen to have some of the best mechanics and some of the most knowledgeable tire techs in the city,” he said. “It is why people come to us.”