Updated: Dealers unite to better compete
The name United Tire & Service reflects the mission of 14 independent dealers in Pennsylvania’s Delaware Valley: unite to compete against big box retailers and national tire dealers.
“We are individual businessmen who have gotten together to buy better,” says Ken Sylvester, president.
There are four partners in United Tire & Service: Sylvester, Andy Chafolsky, Tim Steigerwalt and Jeff Cohen. Ten other dealers have signed on.
The dealers, who operate 17 independent shops in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, created United Tire & Service LLC to provide a brand identity, increased buying power and other business-support services.
"We are now able to compete and win with every major national tire center chain without compromising our mission to not only meet our customers’ expectations, but to exceed them,” says Sylvester. He has been in the tire industry for 30 years, first as a service technician, then as a Goodyear dealer and now as owner of Downingtown Tire & Service Inc., a 10-bay shop.
The other dealers are Bob Cox, Peter Weidner, Pete Getz, Harry Bickel, Tim Shook, Lenny Salvato, Eric Russo, Alex Curtis, Steve Harvilla and Bill D'Amico.
Sylvester says shop owners can become United Tire & Service authorized dealers, rebrand their stores and buy tires through the program, which will allow them manufacturer rebates. Or they can join completely and take advantage of accounting services, credit card processing, training and management services.
The company’s retail website, www.unitedtire.com, became live on April 30. A web portal for dealers is expected to launch in June. It will show tire suppliers at first, with parts suppliers to be added later.
Sylvester says the program currently includes the Pirelli, Goodyear, Continental and Nexen brands with more manufacturer agreements expected soon.
Sylvester has talked to at least six dealers with multiple locations who are interested in joining. The group also is looking for people to partner in opening new locations.
United Tire & Service celebrated its 17-store launch on April 29 with a grand opening at the store in Ardmore, Pa.
The 17 locations are: Rosemont Tire & Service, Bryn Mawr, Pa.; Lower Merion Tire & Service, Ardmore, Pa.; Main Line Tire & Service Inc., Paoli, Pa.; Havertown Tire and Service, Havertown, Pa.; Ridge Auto & Tires Inc., Ambler, Pa.; Phoenixville Tire & Service Inc., Phoenixville, Pa.; Willow Grove Tire & Service, Willow Grove, Pa.; Colmar Tire & Service, Colmar, Pa.; Bustleton Tire & Service, Philadelphia, Pa.; Concordville Auto Center, Concordville, Pa.; West Chester Tire & Service, West Chester, Pa.; Southampton Tire & Service Inc., Southampton, Pa.; Feasterville Tire & Service, Feasterville, Pa.; Downingtown Tire & Service Inc., Downingtown, Pa.; East Caln Tire & Service, Downingtown, Pa.; Melody Lakes Tire, Quakertown, Pa.; and Bargain Tire & Service, Wilmington, Del.
The company donated $5,000, as well as a percentage of proceeds from opening day sales, to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The donation was made in the name of Ian Mann, a service tech from the Downingtown location who was killed by a drunk driver.