Joseph J. McCarthy

Joseph J. McCarthy

Joseph J. McCarthy

Throwback Thursday, and a trip into the archives of McCarthy Tire Service…

Joseph J. McCarthy began his career as a clerk, and later a station agent, for the Central Railroad of New Jersey in his hometown of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. A friend who saw Joe’s talent with people convinced him to try his hand at sales. Joe became a tire sales representative with General Tire and Rubber Company and was quickly promoted to territory representative.

When a territory opened up in Wilkes-Barre, he started his own company, McCarthy Tire Service. In 1930, just at the beginning of the Great Depression, Joe borrowed $5,000 (close to $73,000 today) from his eldest sister. He purchased a defunct car dealership at the corner of 115 North Main Street and E. Bennett Street in downtown Wilkes-Barre, and turned it into the first McCarthy Tire Service store. He started the new endeavor with one truck and two employees – himself and his wife, Claire Kilcoyne McCarthy. Regretfully, no pictures exist of the original store.

Joe’s experience selling truck tires as a General Tire sales representative made the decision to become a combination commercial/retail dealer a logical one. The decision coincided with General Tire’s increased involvement in commercial tire manufacturing. The young company moved firmly into the commercial tire business in 1934 when the City of Wilkes Barre replaced its electric trolley cars with a fleet of six “motor buses,” and Joe McCarthy won the contract to supply tires to the fleet.

In 1936, Joe became partners with Ray A. Davis, a coal and ice dealer. The partners moved McCarthy Tire’s operations, including eight employees, four blocks south to a larger service station that Davis owned at 20-22 Scott Street (shown in pictures). The business continued to grow during the war and post-war years.




Founded in 1926, McCarthy Tire Service is a family-owned and operated tire dealer headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The company has more than 60 service locations and 10 Bandag retread tire manufacturing plants along the east coast of the United States. McCarthy Tire is the sixth largest independent commercial tire dealer and one of the top 50 retail tire dealers in the country. The company offers tire sales and service; automotive mechanical services and repairs; fleet services; truck mechanical services; 24-hour commercial roadside assistance; and retread tire manufacturing. For more information, visit



Amy Cameron, 800-724-3506,

1600 600 McCarthy Tire Service
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