When he was seventeen years old, business owner Lucky Ross began his career in the auto-care industry at Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in his hometown, Alexandria. In 1970, Ross received a promotion, which required a relocation to Baton Rouge. Ross worked his way through the company and eventually directed operations of the four Baton Rouge stores until he retired in 1992.
In light of his “retirement,” Ross decided to open his own business, Associated Tire Services, with three partners, a deal which spawned three locations. As a longtime resident of Central, Ross saw many opportunities for business in Central. “The need was there in Central for a full-fledged car care center,” Ross said. Upon suggesting a relocation of the then Central store, his partners bought him out of business and left him the Central location, in which Ross formed Ross Tire and Service in 2003.
Family is an immensely important aspect of Ross’s business. Both his wife and children work in Ross Tire and Service. Over the past two years, his sons, Glenn and Lynn have taken more of a forefront position in the business and will take over completely when Ross fully retires. Juanita Ross, his wife, is an outside sales associate for the company and manages public relations.
With confidence in the experienced staff at his own business and the direction of the auto care industry, Ross expresses optimism for the future prospects of Ross Tires and Services in Central. He noted an increasing need for preventative auto-care. “The manufacturers make it so difficult because they’re trying to drive their business back to the dealership,” Ross said, “A business like this is able to offer quicker and comparable service. We’re able to offer our customers a clean, comfortable waiting area.”
Along with emphasizing family values, Ross also emphasized the relationship between business and community. “Our philosophy here from the get-go has been community involvement. I’ve always believed that in order to be successful in a retail business where you deal with people all day long, you have to do what you can to promote different worthwhile things in your community whether it be school, work, etc.” Ross Tire and Services sponsors calendars and other events at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church and contributes regularly to Central schools. “I spent 4 years working with the city council when we first organized. Belonged to rotary club. Ministries at church. Participate in teacher of the year and student of the year programs at school. We love it.”
Ross said the motivation to move into Central was due to the friendly atmosphere and the tight-knit community. Ross described the city as, “a little community where people watched each other’s backs” and a place to form friendships with neighbors. “Central just offered all the amenities we were looking for,” Ross said,” I spent four years working with the City Council when we first organized. We love it.”
Additionally, Ross commented on the future of Central and what he would like to see as a business owner. “I think the city has got to develop,” Ross said, “In order to keep the city going and keep embellishing our school system it takes revenue. And in order to get revenue, you’ve got to have economic development.” He feels the best part about the incorporation of Central is the opportunity to guide the direction of economic development. “If we don’t want smoke stacks and stuff and we want to go more towards clean economy, whether it be education or office buildings, we can control that.” Ross said. He also commended the privatization of city services in Central and suggested that perhaps St. George attempted incorporation because they saw how well the public private partnership has worked.