Families in Business: Bob’s Tire Center


art-0801-bob3Fifty-five years ago, Bob Nance entered the tire industry as a teenager. By the age of 19, he had already opened his own tire shop in Simi Valley, offering quality automotive repairs and affordable, brand-name tires. The shop also offered something very unique: a mini zoo housed in the waiting area. While tires and wild animals may seem unrelated, Bob combined his two passions to create a fun, exotic experience for customers who expected the relatively mundane task of vehicle maintenance. Over the years, Bob used his tire center as a home for llamas, lizards, parrots, monkeys, baby alligators and even a couple of elephants.

It’s possible that Bob’s love for animals grew the business almost as much as the good prices, but long-term success depended on Bob’s self-taught business savvy and commitment to honest service. Over the next few years, Bob grew his solitary tire center into 15 centers across the Los Angeles area. Along the way to this booming business, Bob married and began a family. In 1985, with seven young children to think of, Bob decided to reduce the hectic pace of business and find a safer place to raise his children. So, Bob loaded his wife, six daughters, one son, and a tiger (yes, tiger) into a Winnebago and headed north.

The family landed in Red Bluff, where Bob opened a new tire center. His children thrived in a unique environment of suburban life, wild animals and tires. From a young age, Bob’s son Lance knew he wanted to join his father’s business. “When I grow up,” Lance always said, “I’m going to be a tire man.” True to his word, Lance went to college to study business, and then joined his father immediately after graduating.

Fifty-five years after entering the tire industry, Bob officially retired and passed management of the business – now at three locations – to Lance. He still visits the Red Bluff center almost daily, to give advice or play with the chameleon or one of the lizards, parrots or turtles that Lance keeps at the shop.

The animals make Bob’s Tire Center “a place that even kids love coming to,” says Lance, and quality service and products have long satisfied adults. It’s a place where the practical and the exotic come together to surprise and delight.


North State Parent
About North State Parent

North State Parent is a free monthly publication that circulates within five California counties: Butte, Glenn, Shasta, Southern Siskiyou and Tehama. Our pages are filled with family-oriented places to go, services and products geared for women and things to do; a focus on parenting, community, health, education, teens, youth, and much more.


  1. More Bob, less Schwab!

  2. Grammie Pam says:

    Love this article about local business

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