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Recent snowstorms translate into big business, say Denver tire dealers

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Snowstorms that have buffeted the Denver, Colo., area this past week have sent panicked customers pouring into the city's independent tire dealerships.

A major snowstorm dumped over a foot of snow on Denver late last week, temporarily crippling transportation in the area. "But once the plows got out, it was unreal," says George Osborne, general manager of Meadow Creek Tire, a three-outlet dealership. "We noticed a hell of a spike. It was bananas!"

The holidays are one of the slowest times of the year at Meadow Creek "so we weren't expecting this. But it's been a nice surprise. We got 14 inches of snow last night and we're due for a foot tonight."

Larry Bobian, store manager for Swis Tire & Automotive, which has five outlets in Denver, says it was "total chaos" after the first major snowfall before Christmas.

Sales, mostly of winter and light truck tires, spiked an estimated 40% in one day, he says. "Ever since then it's been non-stop. We've gone through 426 tires this month; in an average month (we sell) 278 tires this time of the year."

Even commercial tire dealerships are reporting sales increases. Wes Christopherson, general manager at A&E Tire Inc., says fleets and owner-operators "remember they need to buy new tires when the snow starts flying."

Meanwhile, sales of tire chains "have gone through the roof." A&E Tire has three commercial tire centers in Denver.

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