Northwest Tire Factory invades Alaska

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Northwest Tire Factory LLC has entered the Alaskan market.

The 144-member, Portland, Ore.-based distribution group recently signed new member Wally Hopkins, who owns and operates three outlets in Anchorage, Alaska, that sell tires and offer other services like emmissions testing and "quick-lube" oil changes.

Hopkins' first outlet, which is currently adopting Northwest Tire Factory logo and signage, will be called "Anchorage Tire Factory." His remaining shops will be converted this summer and will probably bear the same name.

Tire sales comprise 5% of Hopkins' total $3.5 million-a-year business right now. Tire Factory membership "will bring it up to 50% over the next two or three years," he says.

Northwest Tire Factory has added nine members over the past seven months, according to group CEO Nick Hodel. It includes dealers in Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Nevada, and is examining other options in Alaska. "I think the economy will be booming up there with President Bush being in office," Hodel says.

Northwest Tire Factory is the eighth largest tire distribution network in North America, according to Modern Tire Dealer statistics.

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