Bob Katz has been the president of Nu-Tread Tire and Auto Service Center for 32 years but the well-known business at the corner of Boardman and Saratoga Streets has been in existence for more than 80 years.
Prior to becoming president, Katz worked at the business that was started by his father, Irving.
“I started here in 1960 as a kid working part time for my dad,” recalled Katz, who is 66 years old.
Katz was a football lineman at Winthrop High School and spent a year at Bridgton Academy in Maine where he was a teammate of future Dallas Cowboys head coach Dave Campo.
He played two years of football at Northeastern University where he graduated with a degree in Business in 1971.
“Northeastern was very good to me. I had a great college experience and it was a good place to learn and the City of Boston was a great place to live and go to school,” said Katz.
Following his college graduation, Katz worked briefly at Nu-Tread before his father suggested that he might want to work at a large corporation to learn about business operations and training programs.
“My father suggested that I might want to go work for a large corporation and see how they do things and train with them,” recalled Katz. “I took a position at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and worked there for almost ten years.”
Katz was a mechanic and service manager before eventually becoming the manager of Goodyear stores in Watertown and Lynn.
When Irving Katz passed away in 1981, Bob Katz became president of Nu-Tread Tire a year later.
“At that time, Nu-Tread was entirely a tire business – there was no auto service at all,” said Katz. “We sold tires, repaired tires, and retreaded tires.”
In 1983 Katz expanded the business to auto service and brought in the full gamut of general repairs: brakes, front end, suspensions, exhausts, and most other repairs.
Katz was asked why Nu-Tread Tire has not only survived but succeeded under his leadership.
“Hard work and good people working here,” said Katz, whose customer base at Nu-Tread is East Boston, Winthrop, and Beachmont.
Through the years Katz has developed strong relationships with customers, a connection that dates back three generations to some families.
“We know our customers very well,” said Katz. “When I was a little kid I was here so some of the families I know are third generations and there are many second generations.”
One of Nu-Tread’s most famous customers was Tony Conigliaro, the former Boston Red Sox star who grew up in East Boston.
“I first met Tony C. when I was working here after school and on Saturdays as a kid,” recalled Katz. “Tony C. bought his tires here for his Oldsmobile Toronado and his red Corvette with the license plate, “TC.”
Katz said he used to enjoy taking Conigliaro’s Corvette for a test drive.
“I had to road test his tires and makes sure everything was OK,” said Katz with a smile. “Tony would leave his car at the shop and we would install the tires. I was the one doing the installation in the shop.”
Katz said when Tony C. came in to Nu-Tread, children in the neighborhood would show up in droves and ask him for autographs. “Tony C. was a very nice guy,” said Katz. “The Little League field at Noyes Park is called Tony Conigliaro Field.”
At Conigliaro’s recommendation, former Red Sox pitchers Ken Brett and Sparky Lyle also purchased their tires at Nu-Tread.
Nu-Tread Tire and Auto Service is an Eastie success story, a local business that has thrived and prospered because of Katz and his employees’ hard work, excellent service, and the building of trustworthy relationship with their customers.
In addition to his professional life, Bob Katz is also a father of three children and a quite proud one at that.
His oldest child, Mark, attended Roger Williams College and works at Nu-Tread Tire. Nineteen-year-old twins Joel and Emily are college students. Joel, a former Marblehead High football star and class president who had a perfect 800 score on the Math portion of the SATs, is a sophomore at Northeastern University while Emily, a former Marblehead High cheerleading captain, is a sophomore at Suffolk University.