Photo credit: Heather LeMoine Photography
Rachel Gietzen is a third generation business owner, proudly taking ownership of Bismarck and Mandan Tire Centers in January 2018. Her grandfather started the family business in 1956. Rachel has ownership in Tires Only, Inc., a Minot-based tire wholesale operation, and serves on the board of directors. Rachel’s family also has ownership in Dakota Wholesale Tire based in Fargo. Rachel balances her professional life with a family, which includes her sons, Brayden and Carson, and her boyfriend, Andy Freidt, and his children, Easton and Kolter.
What was your work experience prior to opening or owning a business? What inspired you to step out and do your own thing? I spent 10 years in the direct sales industry teaching other independent business owners how to run a successful business. I was inspired to become a business owner as I reflected about our family business and not wanting to see that legacy end as my father looked to retire.
Who have been your greatest supporters and/or mentors? By far my greatest supporters have been my family. When you own a business, I have found that family support is an important component of your success. My dad and I love to “talk shop,” and I value his years of experience and advice he offers. My mother is such an incredibly smart business leader, I look to her for advice on creative ideas and personnel management.
What is one of the biggest obstacles in your work? Being a female in a male-dominated industry. I have overcome that obstacle by understanding my product and building a relationship with my customers. I have found that friendly, genuine, knowledgeable service is an equalizer when there is a gender stigma.
What don’t your customers or clients know that would surprise or shock them to learn about you? I’m handy with a hammer and tools around home and I love to sing!
If your employees claimed you had a superpower, what would they say? They have told me I have two superpowers: negotiation and patience.
What is one hobby you have and how does it contribute to your professional life? A hobby that I enjoy is golfing. It contributes to my professional life by giving me time to relax away from work and helps me hone in on my patience and persistence toward achieving goals as I focus on hitting the ball – or trying to hit it well anyway!
What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world?” Invest and save for your future with your very first job. Put money away for retirement before you even know you have it. Get used to living below your means, and focus on relationships with people.