Brady McKinley did not imagine a future in the tire business when he began looking for a job in sales after graduating from the University of Kentucky. However, he had always known the Bowen family, so it wasn’t a complete surprise that they approached him about a sales position at Bowen Tire during his job search.
“It wasn’t the first job out of college I envisioned, but I’m glad I chose this path,” McKinley said.
McKinley grew up in Owensboro and graduated from Owensboro High School. After college, he moved back and now lives here with his wife Jessica and their three boys, ages eight, five and two.
“It’s an absolute joy to watch my boys grow and I love when I get time to do what they want,” McKinley said.
This hometown, family-friendly approach of McKinley’s is what the Bowen family was looking for when McKinley became partner and owner of Bowen Tire, along with Ben and Will Bowen, in 2011 — before he was even 30 years old.
Bowen Tire was founded in 1949 under the name General Tire of Owensboro by Rollin Bowen, the father of John, Jerry and Joe Bowen, to service the automotive repair, tire and wheel needs of customers.
“Bowen Tire has since grown into three different retail locations, with a wide range of services,” McKinley said. “My partners operate our location in Franklin, Ky. and I take care of Owensboro.”
McKinley said that he was lucky to retain all of his employees during the transition because, without those dedicated and productive employees, Bowen Tire wouldn’t be very productive.
“They are what’s keeping this train moving,” McKinley said. “I have four employees in Owensboro that were here well before I started in 2007.”
McKinley said that he loves every aspect of owning a small business and that he has learned that listening to his customers is the best way to find out what areas need to be improved.
“We owe it to our customers to provide the best and most reliable service possible,” McKinley said. “We open the doors each day in hopes that we run it better than the day before.”
With 70 years in the tire and auto service industry, the business prides itself on its customer service and hopes to grow it for many years to come.
The small business also supports community activities including the Special Olympics.
McKinley said that since his wife owned Blossoms, a local boutique, she understands what it takes for a small business to be successful.
“I never feel like I put too much time in this place because I view it as a member of my family,” McKinley said. “Without Bowen Tire being successful, my family suffers, so it’s necessary to make sure this place keeps rolling.”
Bowen Tire has two Owensboro locations, 501 Triplett Street and 2600 Frederica Street. There is also a location in Franklin, Ky.