The 212 stores in Tire Factory Inc.’s network sold 6.5% more tires in 2017, thanks to increases in same-store sales, plus the addition of 20 new locations in the cooperative.
Those new stores, which on average were part of the cooperative for about half the year, added 48,000 units and $4.5 million in sales, said Clint Young, director of sales and business development. Overall sales for the cooperative grew 8%. Ninety percent of the cooperative’s dealers have rebranded their businesses to Point S, and leaders are working on their longstanding goal of expanding the network into the eastern half of the U.S. They took a big step toward that goal in December when Tire Factory announced it was opening a warehouse in Memphis, Tenn., and partnering with Nussbaum Distributing Inc. to expand and deliver tires in the Memphis region.
Mike Nussbaum, owner of the Memphis-based distributor, attended the Tire Factory annual owners meeting Feb. 22-24, 2018, in Universal City, Calif. Two Memphis-area dealers who are considering joining the cooperative and rebranding their combined three stores as Point S stores also attended.
During the meeting Point S dealers celebrated their accomplishments, and the cooperative also outlined plans on how it will forge ahead. One big change has come from dealers’ feedback. Tire Factory asked its 127 member owners which brand it most often purchased from outside the cooperative. The answer: Michelin.
“Michelin has now joined forces with us,” said CEO Walter Lybeck. Michelin, BFGoodrich and Uniroyal tires are now available from Tire Factory’s warehouses. In the past, dealers could order the Michelin family of brands through Michelin’s wholesale arm, Tire Centers LLC (TCi).
By adding Michelin to the group’s list of preferred tire manufacturers, Lybeck said the goal is not to take away sales from the cooperative’s other vendors. “My target is other wholesalers who are selling Michelin to my members.” Michelin joins Hankook Tire America Corp. and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. as preferred tire manufacturers for the North American group of Point S dealers. Internationally, Point S has preferred partnerships with Nokian Tyres plc, Continental AG and Pirelli & Cie SpA. For off-the-road tires and industrial tires, Balkrishna Industries Ltd. and Camso Inc. are the preferred vendors.
Hankook is the cooperative’s top vendor, Lybeck said. Among the top tires are the WildPeak A/T3W from Falken Tire Corp., and Lybeck said the Rockproof from Nokian is “exceeding our expectations.”