What was once a Big O Tires location in Payson has now become Tire Buster’s. The change in brand has nothing to do with the ownership, which has stayed the same as the local business looks to have more freedom on its own.

Gabe Dunn, owner of Tire Buster’s, had been running the tire shop that was formerly owned by his father for the past nine years. For the last two years, he was the owner of the Big O Tires affiliate, but he is now venturing into his own brand.

The contract with Big O Tires was up at the beginning of December and the decision was made to cut ties in an effort to further expand in Utah County with the hopes of growth.

When asked what challenges the transition has brought, Dunn was quick to say that the change in phone number has been an issue. Part of leaving the old brand was that Tire Buster’s had to also leave the phone number. The previous one had been the same for the past 10 years, so it has led to some confusion.

Other than that, Dunn has said it has been pretty easy.

“Most of it has been very, very positive,” Dunn said. “Our ability to handle any issues that come up internally has been fantastic and so has our ability to expand. We bought a shop in American Fork and have converted that into a Tire Buster’s and we plan on doing more. Our ability to purchase has also been better, our purchasing power has been much better.”

The expansion into American Fork has gone over well, too, he said. With the former owner of the shop being a family friend, Tire Buster’s purchased the location in October, and Dunn had nothing but good things to say about the customer base and location’s employees.

While the transition has been somewhat smooth, many of the questions surround the new branding.

“We have had a few people question and ask if we were new ownership, if we got bought out, what happened, but it’s the same team of people we’ve always had,” Dunn said. “We’re locally owned and operated, we’re all from right here in Utah County, and we absolutely love the community. It’s been fun doing business here.”

Dunn expressed pride in supporting the local community, being members of the chamber of commerce in both the cities and sponsoring local events to try and stay connected.

The biggest goal for Tire Buster’s moving forward is the continued expansion while also giving employees more opportunities to move up in the business.

“The hope is that we can continue to offer opportunities for employees to continue to grow,” Dunn said. “We have people who have started here at the bottom and made their way to the top. Started as tire technicians and made their way to mechanics or started as lube technicians and moved up to be sales people. We want to continue to offer those opportunities for people and see if we can help people grow and expand their lives too.”

In a market filled with plenty of competition, Dunn thinks being locally-owned, as well as a the focus on deeper relationships to the community, is what sets Tire Buster’s apart.

“We want it to be personal, we want to show that we do care about their car, their safety, their budget and we care about how they are going to keep getting to their job or keep getting their kids to school,” Dunn said. “It’s important to us because we are sharing the same struggles and the same mentality as far as taking care of our cars. That’s really what we are trying to offer.”

For Dunn, personally, he is excited for the opportunity the new business venture gives to himself and his family.

He is looking to keep the business in the family, just as it has been, with his children working in the store. Dunn finished by saying that he wants to leave his mark on the people who come into the shop.

Whether it’s employees or customers, Dunn wants people to be in a better place than when they got to Tire Buster’s.