You might have noticed MacSmith’s Tires – and their minions – turning up on Gordonton Rd. We talk to Jason Heather-Smith about his new enterprise – and what drives him.
When did you move to Gordonton?
I shifted to Gordonton in early January 2018 from Mt Maunganui – which was where I called home for 25 years.
What made you choose Gordonton?
My best mate of 30 years was here with A&S Custom Containers. We were standing out front watching the traffic flow one day, and both thought ‘Wow – a tyre store could go bloody well here, man, this place sees some traffic!’
What services do you offer?
I provide tyres, puncture repairs and alignments, with brakes and suspension work catered for as well. Gordonton Automotive is just over the carpark and I have a good relationship with Darin – we work well together.
How long does it take to get this work done if someone dropped by?
If someone’s just dropped by I may not have what is required on the shelf, but I can generally have it here first thing the next day or same afternoon.
A wheel alignment alone generally takes 40-45 minutes and four tyres, depending on the vehicle size, is 1 hour, 15 minutes to 1 hour, 40. Punctures take about 20-25 minutes but if people can drop off and pick up a little later that’s a huge help. We’ll have a go at fixing any repair required.
Why is it important to take good care of tyres? Are they easily overlooked?
In my opinion tyres are the most overlooked part on most peoples’ vehicles. They’re not going to stay inflated from when you get new tyres fitted. Check your pressure every four to five weeks. If you’re not doing huge k’s get an alignment every six months, if you are clocking up the k’s, check it every two months. Your bank balance will thank you for it, not mine as much but I’m not here to get what I can out of you either.
What is special about the service you offer?
I’ll be brutally honest every time and I’ll do my very best to do you the best deal possible. If I can’t sort you there and then I’ll come up with a temporary safe solution until it can be done.
Tell us more about those colourful minions.
Bridget’s minions seem to be a hit – kids spot that stuff from miles away. The idea came from wondering what we can do with all these used tyres and Dr Google provided us with pictures of Christmas trees (which we made two of last Christmas) and then amongst wishing wells, bike parking at shops and dog beds we spotted the tire shops in the US with minions on their roofs.
The rendition of the minions in the US wasnt up to our Kiwi standards so I worked for six months (in between my business and MacSmith’s tires) on them. And what you see out the front today is the end result.
To be honest I can’t believe the interest they’ve created as random people pull over and take photos of them!
What is your background/training?
I don’t have anything I can hang on the wall to say I’m qualified but I’ve been swinging spanners since I was 10 years old through Speedway, working on friends’ and family vehicles and wagging school to go work out in the bush or in a quarry doing maintenance and repairs.
I think I was 13 when I got introduced to a tyre machine (an old school 14″ trident mag coming use to scare me in case I’d scratch it) now it’s like an extension of me.
Where were you born, went to school?
I was born and breed in Rotovegas. When I was 16 I tried six months in the Waikato but Hamilton wasn’t quite doing it for me, so I went to the Mount. And now I end up back in the Waikato.
What are the challenges in getting a small business off the ground?
The biggest challenge in starting a business is your mental strength because you are going to cop it through equipment suppliers, product suppliers, friends and even family as not everyone does right by you early on. Which in turn makes it hard to give your all in area’s people count on you for. But there are highlights – the reviews through email, Facebook and local support.
What plans do you have?
My future plans are to grow my business to a level and standard so that locals, travellers or anyone in need can be helped without effort.
I’m hoping to be here a long time offering my services and building a successful community.
And finally, meet Rhino, the company door bell
- This story first ran on September 11 2019