With six bays and two crews of employees, Cory Brown’s tire store was servicing 1,500 to 2,000 vehicles a month from a 6,200 square-foot location on Campbell Street in Rapid City, S.D. “We were climbing all over ourselves for space,” he says.
Brown, president of Redline Automotive Inc., and his father, Ross Brown, vice president, knew they needed more space. Their retail, commercial and fleet business couldn’t remain under one roof.
After two years of planning and construction, the Browns on Nov. 19 opened their third tire store in South Dakota. The new Cory’s Point S Tire and Auto Service on Camden Drive in Rapid City is a retail-focused store with more than 11,000 square feet and 12 bays.
“It’s much more retail friendly. It has a very comfortable waiting area with a fireplace. There’s Netflix and Hulu on the TV so it’s comfortable for our customers and it makes it easy to sit and wait for a vehicle,” Cory Brown says. “It has an open air showroom with a lot of windows and tall ceilings. Our old shop was a metal, pole barn space. This is more of a retail-friendly space.”
The store also features a countertop work area for customers to use laptops and charge their cell phones. There’s Wi-Fi, plus a playroom for children that has a colorful, soft rubber floor and large windows so parents can keep an eye on them from elsewhere in the store. There’s even room to park a 1962 Corvette inside the lobby. They plan to display a different vehicle every few months, including some that are owned by customers.
New space, new brand
The opening of the new store is more than just the end to a construction project. It’s the start of the Browns using the Point S name.
“At the beginning of this process is right when Tire Factory changed to Point S. We did not rebrand until this month. We were waiting for this store to be completed.”
Cory Brown is among the tire dealers who serve on the cooperative’s board, and he says it didn’t make sense to invest in the signage and branding at the Campbell Street store only to have to do it again when the new store opened. (The Campbell Street store is now fully focused on commercial tire business and fleets, and operates as Tri-State Tire Commercial Fleet.) “I have been pretty impressed with how the public has reacted to the Point S colors and name. I’ve had a lot of really great responses to not just how the store looks, but also the color scheme and the fact Point S is an international brand seems to carry a lot of weight with our retail customers. That’s been a nice revelation.”
Moving the Rapid City retail business to its own location also will give the commercial and fleet business more room to grow. The company plans to invest in more commercial equipment now that there’s space to house it. “We’ve already started doing that in anticipation for increased commercial business at the other location.”
A forecast for ongoing growth
Cory expects the new store to fuel more business. “We’ve already had to hire two more people that we weren’t anticipating hiring right away.” In its first year, he expects the new store will help boost the company’s overall sales by 20%. “I think that’s being pretty conservative. I would like more, but it’s a good projection.”
That increase would beat what’s become the norm. “Since 2008 we have averaged year-over-year growth of 16%. That’s the direction I would like to continue to head.”
In 2018 he expects the business — which also includes a retail store in Belle Fourche, S.D. — to end the year with just over $4 million in sales. In 2019 the business is shooting for around $5 million in sales.