Here’s the first hint that the newest tire store Ron Baxter and Ross Baxter are opening in Idaho Falls, Idaho, isn’t a typical retail store: the size. It’s 37,000 square feet. The Baxter brothers, equal partners in Ron’s Tire Inc., which goes to business as Ron’s Tire & Motorsports, have upgraded and certainly upsized their business in Idaho Falls. Chris Rogers, Ron Baxter’s son-in-law and the business’ general manager, says they’ve converted the former Chevrolet dealership into a retail and commercial tire store with seven passenger bays and two commercial truck bays.
But that’s not all.
The store also has eight small engine bays and an inventory that includes much more than tires: Husqvarna motorcycles and power equipment, Exmark mowers, Breezer bicycles, Cub Cadet mowers and Traeger grills to name a few. Rogers says, “Our thinking, and it’s worked well, is that you take care of somebody on tires, while they’re in the showroom, we’ve got other things for them to look at and purchase. We sell them tires, but then they end up buying a chainsaw, a bicycle or a four-wheeler because you treated them right on the tires. They trust you.”
This is a business plan that has evolved over the years. When Ron Baxter entered the business in 1975 at the age of 19 in Terreton, Idaho, it was a typical tire store. But after about 20 years he started expanding the inventory and services. Rogers says, “We’re in a small rural community, and we decided to add other products that the community needed.”
That single store has grown to four locations in Idaho — Terreton, Idaho Falls, Rigby and Hamer. Ross Baxter's son Jaxon Baxter manages the Rigby store. And though the look of the newest showroom might be a bit deceiving, Ron’s Tire & Motorsports is still primarily a tire store. “The largest part of the business is tires,” says Rogers. The stores especially sell a lot of farm tires.
The business is a member of Tire Factory Inc. and the Point S network of tire retailers.
Rogers says the mixture of products helps the bottom line. In Idaho Falls, the previous store didn’t sell any passenger tires or offer automotive service, but did a lot of lawnmower business. The move to the new building provides the space for tires and automotive service. He wants the store to do 50% of its business in tires, and hit the $3 million mark in sales in three years.
“This year I bet we hit $2 million. It’s a pretty reasonable goal. We will make that ($3 million goal). I’m not concerned about that at all.”
“Others can do this,” Rogers says. “You’ll see more stores doing more automotive. There’s not enough in tires alone; you’ve got to have a mix.
“We’re starting to see a lot of competition from the big box stores like Walmart and Discount Tires that are strictly doing tires and their service is where they’re lacking, so we focus on service, from alignments to full car care service.”
Grand opening On Aug. 18 and 19, 2017, the new store will host a weekend grand opening celebration, complete with giveaways of tires, lawn and garden products and bicycles, plus shows by a group of Nitro Circus freestyle BMX athletes.
“Every two hours something will be given away.” Vendors are setting up booths, and Tire Factory CEO Walter Lybeck and others will be there, too.
Those paying special attention to the Aug. 21 solar eclipse might know Idaho Falls is on the path of full totality, and in fact the city is enveloped in full eclipse mania. There are predictions the city of 50,000 residents could swell to ten times its size. (The Los Angeles Times is among the national media outlets reporting on the mania.)
Did Ron’s Tire purposefully plan its grand opening to collide with the weekend that precedes the solar event? “It kind of worked out that way. The closer it gets, we think we’re crazy.”
They’re now marketing and advertising that winners of the giveaways must live in southeast Idaho.
For more information about Ron's Tire & Motorsports, visit www.ronstireandmotorsports.com.