The largest tire dealerships keep getting larger: Tire Kingdom, Discount Tire and Les Schwab lead the way
Tire Kingdom Inc. of Riviera Beach, Fla., again tops our chart of the "Top 100 independent tire store chains" with 625 locations. This is a 25-store increase from last year.
Closing in on the top spot (just 33 stores away) is Discount Tire Co. based in Scottsdale, Ariz. The company added a whopping 62 stores during the course of the year.
Les Schwab Tire Centers in Prineville, Ore., is in the third position again, with an additional 17 locations and a total of 309 outlets.
Whether it’s nitrogen inflation systems, new wheel lines or laser car washes, the dealers on our "Top 100 independent tire store chain" list are adding new ways to attract customers.
Here's what many of the top dealers have done over the past year -- and plan to do in the coming months:
* Kal Tire, based in Vernon, B.C., Canada, acquired 11 Sears automotive stores in British Columbia and Alberta. It also bought out two other stores and added the TBC line of tires. It plans to "look for opportunities to expand and continue to service its accounts," reports a company official. It also plans to expand in Ontario and focus on "people development."
* ProCare Automotive Service Centers sold off its sites in Texas and says "we're now out of the Houston and Dallas markets," according to a company official.
* Purcell Tire & Rubber Co. in Potosi, Mo., reports it opened a new wholesale location in Springfield, Ill., during the last year and plans expansions in its current markets. It also is planning on updating its locations with new equipment.
* Kauffman Tire Inc. of Atlanta, Ga., opened a new distribution center in April in Tallahassee, Fla., and plans to open an additional six retail outlets in the next 12 months.
* Peerless Tyre Co. of Denver, Colo., closed its Newcastle, Wyo., store during the last 12 months while opening stores in Canon City, Colo., and Hays, Kan. The company plans to open another new store in Emporia, Kan., in the coming year, according to Sam Forbes, president.
* VIP Parts, Tire & Service in Lewiston, Maine, plans on "opening two to five new stores per year," according to John Quirk, CEO and president.
* Plaza Tire Service in Cape Girardeau, Mo., has added the Pirelli line and had one new store opening since our last report on top dealers. It plans to "open two or three new outlets in the next year," according to Mark Rhodes, president.
* AM-PAC Tire Distributors/Tire Pros, headquartered in Simi Valley, Calif., has added new distribution centers in Georgia and California.
* Everybody's Oil Corp., dba Tire Barn, is planning on rebuilding two stores within the next year as well as adding two markets to its sales territory, reports Christopher Jones, CEO and president.
* Tire Discounters Inc. of Cincinnati, Ohio, added four retail outlets over the last year, reports Chip Wood, president. The company also began selling Pirelli tires.
* Ben Tire Distributors Ltd. of Toledo, Ill., reports it plans to add three new retail stores in the coming year.
* Colony Tire Corp. of Edenton, N.C., saw "tremendous demand for commercial tires" over the last year, and is planning on opening three stores in the next year.
* Rent-A-Wheel/Rent-A-Tire based in Van Nuys, Calif., added four stores over the last year. They are in Tucson, Ariz.; Laredo, Texas; and San Diego and Long Beach, Calif.
* Tire-Rama Inc. in Billings, Mont., added a Mighty Auto Parts franchise and plans to open a new store in Missoula, Mont., to replace an existing location. It also opened a new store in Gillette, Wyo., last month and is developing a new wheel line called TIR Racing, according to David Wehr, president.
* Dunn Tire LLC, based in Buffalo, N.Y., added nitrogen inflation systems in all stores and opened two new distribution centers in Rochester and Syracuse, N.Y., reports Randall Clark, chairman.
* Andy Martino, president of Martino Tire Co. in Miami, Fla., reports his company purchased six stores in Jacksonville, Fla., and one in the Miami area. It also lost one store in Hurricane Frances. For the next 12 months, "several proposals are being considered," says Martino.
* Chris Mitsos, vice president of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.-based Mountain View Tire & Service Inc., reports his company built four new stores over the last year. "We are currently taking a breather," he says. "However, we would like to add 10 more stores over the next 24 to 36 months."
* T.O. Haas Tire Co. Inc. in Lincoln, Neb., has added a store in Hutchinson, Kan., and replaced a store in Omaha, Neb., with a larger location, reports George Hoellen, president. The company also remodeled the interior of its North Platte, Neb., store and did a total remodeling job on its Lincoln, Neb., location. Its plans for the next 12 months include looking for growth opportunities and the remodeling of two more existing stores.
* Carroll Tire Co. in Hapeville, Ga., has a new on-line ordering Web site for its customers. It is free to registered dealers and allows inventory look-up, ordering and other functions 24/7.
* Fletcher's Tire & Auto Service Inc. in Phoenix, Ariz., plans to open four new stores this year and nine new stores in 2006 in Phoenix and Tuscon, Ariz., according to Jerry Fletcher, president.
* American Tire Depot in Irwindale, Calif., says that two new locations will be added in 2005.
* Grismer Tire Co. of Dayton, Ohio, plans to open a new commercial center in the next year.
* Capital Tire Inc. in Toledo, Ohio, added one new warehouse over the last year, says Tom Geiger Jr., president.
* Larry DeHaven, president of White Tire Distributors Inc., reports his Roanoke, Va.-based company plans to add one commercial outlet and two retail outlets in the coming year.
* Jack Williams Tire, based in Avoca, Pa., opened its Auto Addictions high performance division with two locations during the last 12 months. It also plans to add two new retail locations in Dickson City and Palmyra, Pa., in the coming year in addition to a warehouse expansion, according to Bill Williams, CEO.
* Flynn's Tire & Auto Service in Hermitage, Pa., has increased its store count by one store (in Butler, Pa.), according to Joe Flynn III, the company's president.
* Service Tire Truck Centers in Bethlehem, Pa., opened locations in Milton and Lansdale, Pa., and is "looking at new acquisitions for the coming year," according to Ron Bennett, CEO and president.
* Warren Tire Service Center Inc. in Queensbury, N.Y., added an eight-bay store last November and plans to expand with a two-bay laser wash, according to Wayne Kellogg, president.
* Lewis Wexler Sr., chairman, CEO and president of Free Service Tire Co. Inc. in Johnson City, Tenn., reports, "During the last 12 months, the company has renovated and upgraded our retread plant and equipment. We also opened our fourth wholesale tire center in Roanoke, Va.
* McGee Tire Stores of Eaton Park, Fla., built an additional location in Mulberry, Fla., and plans on two more retail stores within the next year as well as a new warehouse, reports Mike McGee, president.
* Jim Stankiewicz, president of Valley Tire Co. Inc. in Charleroi, Pa., says his company acquired a Syracuse, N.Y., commercial center from Terry Haggerty Tire during the last year.
* Clark Tire & Auto of Hickory, N.C., reports it purchased an additional retail location in Indian Trail (in the Charlotte, N.C., area).
* Paul Couture, owner of Advanced Auto Service & Tire Centers in Mesa, Ariz., reports he is "actively looking for new store locations or acquisitions."
* John Andonian, president of Evans Tire, reports his San Diego/Escondido, Calif.-based company plans to add two more stores during 2005.
* Nebraska Tire in Firth, Neb., opened two new stores over the last year. A new wholesale/distribution center is currently under construction and will open soon. The company also added two more farm service trucks to its fleet. It hopes to open five to six new stores before the end of this year, and looks to open an additional four locations next year, possibly out of state, reports Bruce Docter, vice president of operations.
* Alton's Tire Centers in Spokane, Wash., opened a new store last December in Airway Heights, Wash. The outlet features 16 bays and 15,000 square feet of space, according to Duane Alton, president.