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  Volume No. 18 Issue No. 5 May 2021  

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Bill Radford

  Big O owner big on community
  By Bill Radford

   David Largent is big on forging and nurturing relationships, whether it's family ties or connecting with the community or comparing notes with fellow Big O Tires franchise owners.
   Largent owns the Big O Tires in Falcon with his wife, Charlotte, and business partner Dustin Roberts. The business opened about a year and a half ago at U.S. 24 and Old Meridian Road.
   A Colorado Springs native, Largent grew up in the Widefield-Security area but also had relatives in Falcon that he would visit; he used to ride dirt bikes on vacant land that is now home to the Falcon Walmart, so he has seen the area grow. Charlotte and Roberts grew up in Falcon and are Falcon High School graduates. Largent had met Charlotte before, but it was during the blizzard of '97, when he was stuck in Falcon for several days, that they truly connected. They've been together for 20 years and married for 14; they have a 3-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter. Camping is a favorite family activity.
   Largent has been with Big O Tires for 18 years; his first job with the company was sweeping floors at the Big O in Fountain.
   "When I first started, they wouldn't let me touch tires," he said. But that soon changed as he moved into some work on tires and then oil and lube changes. He then followed Charlotte to Durango, where she attended school at Fort Lewis College and he worked at the Durango Big 0, where he started doing mechanical work and alignment.
   Growing up, he was like other kids, dreaming at one point of being a doctor, then a firefighter. Ultimately, he said, "I was guided to do tires, I guess."
   After Durango, the couple returned to the Colorado Springs area. Largent worked at the Big O on South Nevada Avenue, first as a salesperson before becoming manager. After that, he managed the Big O on Fillmore Street for nine years.
   He and Charlotte also began to dream of having their own Big O location, of being able to support a community while creating opportunities for both themselves and their employees. A community like Falcon.
   "We looked at other options, including out of state, but we just kind of always came back to this," Largent said. Roberts, who Largent has known as long as he has known Charlotte, was also part of those plans. And, "with a lot of prayer and work," the dream was realized.
   Big O Tires isn't just tires; it's a full-service auto repair shop. "We don't do engine rebuilds or transmission rebuilds, but we do just about everything else," Largent said. He has 19 employees; the vast majority live in Falcon. As the owner, he misses being at the front counter every day to build relationships with the customers. But he said it has been fun to mentor and watch his employees as they grow and step into new roles and forge those connections themselves, just as he did.
   The pandemic has posed challenges, of course. As an essential business, Big O stayed open during the governor's stay-at-home order, but Largent had to come up with ways for employees to keep working while social distancing; he also cut store hours to allow for more time for cleaning at the start and end of each day. But he didn't have to lay anyone off and things are largely back to normal, other than the wearing of masks and limits on how many people can be in the lobby. During a crisis like this, itís particularly nice to be part of the Big O "family" and have other franchisees to consult with, he said.
   Business overall has been good, with customers coming from as far away as the Kansas border, Largent said. "The community has been extremely supportive," he said; and he has worked to give back, supporting various groups and causes in the community.
   "It's been a huge blessing," he said.
David Largent, co-owner of Big O Tires in Falcon, enjoys fostering ties with the community. Photo by Bill Radford
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