Taking center stage: After 30 years, S&S gets the publicity it deserves
Paul Swentzel and Don Schneider opened their first S&S Tire store in Lexington, Ky., in 1974 without much fanfare. At the time, President Richard Nixon's resignation and subsequent pardon were more newsworthy.
Thirty years later, Swentzel remains president of the 35th largest independent tire dealership in North America, with more than 20 retail stores, seven distribution centers and ownership in 11 Best One commercial tire outlets. The distribution centers are located in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama and South Carolina.
"We're distributors instead of wholesalers," says Swentzel. "We partner with our customers off our route trucks, and we assign people to those dealers to support them. I think that's why the rubber companies like us."
S&S Inc. recently celebrated its 30th anniversary with an open house and trade show at Rupp Arena in Lexington. All five of the company's tire dealer program suppliers -- Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire LLC (TireStarz), Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (G3), Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. (Partner/Mastercraft), Yokohama Tire Corp. (Advantage) and Continental Tire North America Inc. (Gold) -- were among the exhibitors displaying their products to more than 2,000 attendees.
Even the local CBS, ABC and NBC affiliates covered the event, a far cry from the publicity Swentzel and Schneider (now retired) received in 1974.
(In the photo: Swentzel, right, with University of Kentucky men's basketball coach Tubby Smith.)