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The tough get going

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The tough get going

The American economy may be on the verge of a recession, but you wouldn’t know it by talking to some of the country’s largest retreaders. Instead of hedging their bets, many of the respondents to Modern Tire Dealer’s 2008 Top 100 U.S. Retreaders survey are investing in the future by upgrading equipment and boosting production capacities.

Some even see the need for new retread shops, including Potosi, Mo.-based Purcell Tire & Rubber Co., which plans to add a new truck tire plant this year. Here’s a look at what some other leading retreaders are doing:

• Belle Tire Distributors Inc. (Allen Park, Mich.) is buying new chambers, buffers and builders, according to Tom Bowman, vice president of Belle Tire’s commercial division.

• Boulevard Tire (Deland, Fla.) is adding capacity as well as an extra curing chamber.

• B.R. Retreading Inc. (Glasgow, Ky.) has ordered two new radial molds (sizes 18.00R33 and 24.00R35).

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• Craft Tire Inc. (Uniontown, Pa.) says its retread production could go up as much as 20% in 2008.

• Frasier Tire Service Inc. (Sumter, S.C.) is on the look-out for new customers so it can boost its volume. “We could double production and still have some capacity left,” says owner Julian Frasier III.

• Looney’s Tire Service Inc. (Little Rock, Ark.) is installing new equipment, including a chamber and a monorail system. It plans to increase production by 60 retreads per day by the end of this month.

• Main Tire Exchange Inc. (Dansville, N.Y.) wants to get its production up to 198 medium truck and light truck tire retreads per day. It currently produces 176 units per day.

• McGriff Treading Co. Inc. (Cullman, Ala.) intends to increase its rubber usage by 4% over 2007 levels.

• Service Tire Truck Centers (Bethlehem, Pa.) is expanding its three plants to handle increased demand, according to CEO and President Ron Bennett.

• TreadWright Inc. (Edgemont, S.D.) is adding five CIMA presses to increase its light truck tire retread capacity. “We are expanding into the 19.5 market,” say company officials.

Not all retreaders are as optimistic. Royal Tire Inc. of St. Cloud, Minn., is not planning to make any capital expenditures during 2008.

When asked about his plans for 2008, Phil Thompson, vice president of Thompson’s O.K. Tire Inc. of Beloit, Kan., simply replied, “Maintain (our) position.”

The nation’s largest retreader, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.-owned Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems LLC, says the economy “indicates a possible flat year.”

Officials from RDH Tire & Retread Co. in Cleveland, N.C., say their company plans to increase production.

However, “because of the economy” they were not able to forecast a specific increase at press time.

See our Industry Resources, Research and Statistics button on this Web site for a listing of this year’s top 100 U.S. retreaders, starting with a special look at the top 10.

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