Lamb’s Tire grows with Central Texas market
Since the start of 2015, Jim Ramsey has added a store, a technical training program and a commercial service offering to the network of Lamb’s Tire and Automotive outlets in Central Texas.
Business has been better than expected at the new store on the south side of Austin, Texas. The outlet on South Lamar Street opened in June and is the third Lamb’s location in south Austin. “That area of town is a bit underserved,” says Ramsey, who is CEO and president of Lamb Ventures LP, which does business as Lamb’s Tire & Automotive.
High rise apartment and condominium complexes recently were built across the street from the new store. Five auto repair shops were removed to make way for the new residences. “I think there’s a big need down there for our services and that’s why it’s taken off so well,” says Ramsey.
The new Lamb’s Tire store has eight employees and 10 bays. The store is leased space measuring about 7,000 square feet. Renovation and equipment represent about a half million dollar investment.
There are now 15 Lamb Tire and Automotive stores serving the growing Central Texas market. The company’s major brands are Goodyear, Michelin, Continental and General. “Austin is a really tough tire market, there’s a lot of competition,” says Ramsey. “While we want to sell as many tires as we can, most of our work, about 75%, turns out to be service work.”
Ramsey says the company is looking at other locations for expansion. “We don’t want to grow too fast. The main concern we have is getting the right people in our stores. That’s what keeps us from going out and doing a whole lot more.”
In-house training added
In January, Lamb’s added an in-house technician training program and hired one of its technicians, John Valenzuela, as full-time corporate trainer. The program is using the Goodyear Learning Center curriculum. Classes are held at the company’s store on McNeil Road in Austin. The company kicked off the program by retraining all of its general service technicians on oil change, tire installation and tire repair processes.
The training helped the technicians sharpen their skills and helped Valenzuela refine the program, according to Ramsey. All new hires are now required to complete a training process before working at a store. In addition, the training is offered to technicians who want to expand their skill set and prepare for new opportunities.
“It’s our goal to not hire someone who’s looking for a job. Our goal is to bring people in who want to learn how to eventually be automotive technicians or even advance into sales or store management if that’s their goal,” says Ramsey.
First-ever commercial offering
On Aug. 1, Lamb’s Tire and Automotive expanded into commercial service. The company added a service truck and provides commercial truck tire sale sales and service.
The commercial service was added at the request of customers. In January 2015, Lamb’s hired a sales person to bring in car and light truck fleet business. As he made sales calls, he was asked if Lamb’s could do truck tires. “We ran the numbers and figured we could make a go of it so we started it the first of August,” says Ramsey.
Lamb’s Tire and Automotive was founded in 1987. Today, there are six stores in Williamson County and nine stores in Travis County, areas which are at the epicenter of population and business growth in Central Texas. Ramsey says Lamb’s will be there to serve the growing market.
“I feel like we could probably grow another eight stores. I feel like the market could bear that easily. The growth here is just tremendous. Austin is on I-35; we’re talking maybe moving down I-35 toward the San Antonio area and maybe up I-35 toward the Waco area as well.”