Broadway’s main mechanic re-tires | News, Sports, Jobs

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Greg Mace has been running Adirondack Tire for nearly 49 years. On Tuesday, he replaced his last set of tires before retiring and selling the building to a property developer. (Business Photo – Aaron Cerbone)

SARANAC LAKE — Greg Mace installed his final set of tires on Tuesday, capping a 49-year career in the wheel industry at his Adirondack Tire store on Broadway.

Mace has been a mainstay for Saranac Lake motorists for three generations.

“I know people by their cars” he said.

Mace remembers seeing children walking down Broadway past his shop on their way to school. Now he sees their grandchildren passing by. Years ago, there was a boy who Mace always gave a handful of M&Ms from his candy stash when his parents came in. Now this boy has become a man and brings his son to get some M&Ms.

Adirondack Tire had been in business since the 1920s. Mace’s father bought the store in 1969. Greg was 15 at the time. But in 1973, her father had a car accident and spent years recovering. Mace was going to college for a degree in accounting, but started running his father’s business and in 1987 officially took over the business.

Greg Mace balances the latest set of tires he installed at his Adirondack Tire business on Tuesday, after nearly 49 years of sales. “It measures static and dynamic agitation and oscillation,” he said of the machine he was using. Although not the most scientific description, it takes a lot of painstaking work to balance a wheel. It’s the only thing between a driver and the road, Mace stressed, and precise balance is very important. (Business Photo – Aaron Cerbone)

For four years, he ran the company while taking classes at Clarkson University to earn his degree in electrical engineering. But he loved the physical work of installing tires.

“I’ve decided I can’t sit all day, so I will until I’m old.” said Mace. “But I forgot to define what age was.”

Now, at 68, he’s ready to hang up his tire machines. But he’s not stopping yet.

He has skis, skates, hiking boots, a bike and a canoe that have stood still for years, and he’s looking to make up for the decades of leisure he missed at work. Mace remained active in the tire business. His job is training. He also has a gym in the basement which he is looking to dust off in retirement.

Santa Clara resident Minda Briaddy wanted to be Mace’s last client in her business. Mace helped his family after a fire tore through their home over the winter, giving them a place to live while they rebuild their home.

Greg Mace has been running Adirondack Tire for nearly 49 years. On Tuesday, he replaced his last set of tires before retiring and selling the building to a property developer. (Business Photo – Aaron Cerbone)

Briaddy said it was a blessing for her family to have a temporary home four miles from her home where they can keep an eye on the progress of the rebuilding.

It was difficult to find accommodation for herself, her husband John, their son, a dog and a cat to live in after the fire.

“We were homeless” Briandy said. “We have a big dog. He’s a big bouncy labradoodle, but he’s still big.

Mace was hesitant to rent his parents’ old house, but his life was also affected by the fire. Several times.

“I know what it is” he said of the losses that fire brings.

Mace said his family lost everything in a fire when he was in seventh grade. All he had left were the clothes he was wearing that day. The tire store itself burned down twice – once in an electrical fire and another caused by children burning tires in the back. And his family camp also burned down.

That’s why he’s not too moved by plans to demolish the Adirondack Tire building to build an apartment complex on the site as part of the Saranac Lofts development.

“I am not attached to anything physical” said Mace.

Three years ago, Mace said he was approached by Franklin County Industrial Development Agency CEO Jeremy Evans to sell the property. They struck a deal with Hudson Valley-based developers, Kearney Group. Mace said he was glad the land was put to good use.

Mace installed many, many more sets of tires than he could count.

“People think it’s monotonous. ‘How do you do the same indoors and outdoors every day?’ Well, every job is like that,” said Mace. “But I have to do repairs, which are all different. It’s kind of like a mystery. I like mysteries.

What happens next for him when the rubber hits the road in retirement is also a bit of a mystery. On Tuesday, he wasn’t sure if he was going to sleep on Wednesday morning or start getting his hiking boots dirty.


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