K&M Tire: Bigger and better
K&M Tire Inc. strives for “continuous improvement.” It says so in its mission statement: “The K&M Tire team is dedicated to the continuous improvement of planning, product, service and marketing.”
The definition of “improvement,” however, is linked to the needs of its retail customers. That is why the company sends out a survey to its dealers every year.
The results from its latest survey were unveiled at the 2013 K&M Tire Trade Show in Orlando, Fla., in January. The Delphos, Ohio-based wholesale distributor is:
• adding warehouse space in order to improve delivery in more areas.
• partnering with Net Driven, a website development and Internet marketing solutions provider, so its dealers can take advantage of the Internet, “the number one way local consumers find tire dealers,” said Bill Martellaro, corporate sales executive for Net Driven.
• integrated the company’s “Good, Better, Best” point-of-sale tire comparison tool into the K&M Weblink. “When given the option, 60% of customers purchase the ‘better’ tire,” said Christy Lindeman, K&M Tire’s car dealer sales representative.
K&M Tire has 14 locations operating in more than 20 states. It will open number 15 in Barnesville, Minn., in the first quarter, and number 16 in Oklahoma City, Okla., later in the year. The company also is expanding its warehouse footage in Dallas.
The Mr. Tire franchise program also has been growing. When K&M Tire Inc. purchased the program from Universal Cooperatives Inc. in Nov. 2010, there were 191 Mr. Tire members. Two years later, there are 401.
According to Program/Marketing Manager Jeff Wallick, the company doesn’t have a specific number of franchise locations in mind.
“Continued growth within our dealer network will remain a high priority for at least the next several years. For us, dealer engagement with our preferred vendor partners is critical to the success of our Mr. Tire and Big 3 Tire programs.”
(In areas where Monro Muffler Brake Inc. has exclusive rights to use the Mr. Tire name, K&M uses the name Big 3 Tire.)
Wallick adds that further expansion will come through organic growth and acquisitions.
Mr. Tire and Big 3 Tire stores offer the Hankook, Mastercraft, Continental, General, Bridgestone and Firestone brands. Mr. Tire outlets also stock the Cooper brand. ■