Mechanic Neil Bridgewater shows off Dale Tire Shop’s heavy duty tire mounting machine.
As Dale Hendrickson neared retirement, he and his partner, Rita Alexander, came up with an idea. The two decided that St. John could use another car repair center, and two years later, they’d secured a location, built a brand new facility and opened for business.
“We realized St. John needed another tire shop,” said Hendrickson. “So we came up with the idea, got the property, then decided that this is what we were going to do.”
“We had no experience, none at all,” he continued. “But we knew we had a good tire guy, so we knew it was going to do well. He knows everything about cars.”
Hendrickson retired in January after 20 years at WAPA and now works as a full-time taxi driver, and Alexander worked at Bougainvillea for the past seven years.
Dale Tire Shop, named, of course, after its owner, opened in early August, and so far, the duo says business has been great.
Located behind Marina Market and accessed via the road at Candi’s BBQ, the tire shop’s brand new building features all the quality equipment one needs to service cars, including a car lift and two tire mounting machines, one of which is a heavy duty tire machine that can handle rims up to 32 inches – the only such machine on island.
In addition to mounting tires, Dale Tire Shop sells all brands of tires and can also do oil changes, brake changes, spark plugs, tire rotation, disposal of tires and more.
St. John native Neil Bridgewater is the shop’s mechanic, and customers can be assured their vehicles are in good hands at the new tire shop.
Bridgewater’s experience began in Job Corps, followed by four years as a mechanic at E&C. He then worked at Texaco for two years before branching out on his own to do window tinting and auto detailing.
“Even during that time, all my friends used to bring their cars to me for oil and brake changes,” said Bridgewater.
Although there are other places on island to get a tune-up, Dale Tire Shop offers more, explained Hendrickson.
“We have the best price, and the service is quick; you’ll be in and out,” said Hendrickson. “Our staff is very friendly.”
But the shop isn’t trying to edge anyone out of business, Hendrickson is quick to clarify.
“We don’t do body work,” he said. “We leave that for [St. John mechanic] Halle. It’s a small island, and we have to share.”
Dale Tire Shop is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. You can reach them at 774-9104.