In 1985, the National Tire Dealers and Retreaders Association established a Tire Industry Hall of Fame. That year the industry honored James Harlan Heafner by inducting him into the Hall of Fame along with Harvey S. Firestone (founder of Firestone Tire and Rubber), and Frank A. Seiberling (founder of The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company).
Mr. Heafner was cited for his pioneering efforts in tire distribution, private branding, and his industry and community support. In 1935 he gave up a career in education to begin a small tire business that developed into one of the most respected and successful independently owned companies within the industry. His legacy endures today through American Tire Distributors.
Mr. Heafner was one of the first to recognize the need for an "non-national" tire brand that would offer the consumer an alternative to the higher priced national brands, would be exclusive to his Company, and would be available to him as he expanded into new markerts.
In the late 1960's Mr. Heafner founded and presided over Global Tire and Rubber Company. From this experience he launched the Company's own private brand, Regul tires, in the mid-1970's. Operating control of Heafner Tire Company, Inc. transitioned to his daughter, Ann Gaither in 1985. Mr. Heafner died in May of 1988.