Retail

Sullivan Tire Will Take Over 2 Direct Tire Locations

Longtime Manager Steps Into Ownership of Flagship Store

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In this 2016 photo Barry Steinberg showed off his newest location, still under construction, in Medway, Mass.

Sullivan Tire Co. Inc. will acquire two of the four retail stores in Massachusetts previously owned and operated by Barry Steinberg. The longtime manager of the flagship Direct Tire and Auto Service store in Watertown, Mass., will become its new owner.


Sullivan Tire, dba Sullivan Tire and Auto Service, will take over ownership and operations at the Direct Tire stores in Medway and Peabody on May 11, the company says. Direct Tire's founder Barry Steinberg died on April 27th of cancer.


The addition of the Direct Tire locations will give Sullivan Tire 75 total locations.


Sullivan Tire says it had a longtime relationship with Steinberg that went back decades. "Built on similar values of community involvement and philanthropy as well as integrity in the auto service business, the mutual respect between the two organizations made the acquisition a natural fit."


Paul Sullivan, vice president of marketing for Sullivan Tire, says, “Barry was always highly respected in the community and in the industry, and he was a steadfast supporter of taking care of customers and employees, which have always been top priorities of Sullivan Tire. We hope to retain all employees to carry on the tradition of excellence that customers have come to expect.”


In Watertown

The Direct Tire name will continue at Steinberg's first store in Watertown, Massachusetts.


After 25 years as a Direct Tire employee, Bob Lane, the location’s longtime general manager, will become the new owner.


“Barry was a mentor to me and a close personal friend,” said Lane. “He has been grooming me to take over the business for many years, and we have been working closely with the great team at Sullivan Tire for the past three years to put this transaction together and ensure a smooth transition.”


Lane says the Watertown staff will remain in place. “We will continue to deliver the finest customer service available, just the way Barry would have wanted it,” Lane says.


One store will close

The release announcing the plans for the Watertown, Medway and Peabody stores did not reveal the plans for the fourth Direct Tire store in Norwood, Mass. But Direct Tire acknowledged in a Facebook post to customers that the Norwood store will close.


"Barry tried mightily, but our Norwood location was hit particularly hard by the pandemic economic downturn and he was unable to find someone to assume ownership of that store. As a result, we are sorry to say we will be shutting down Norwood operations in the latter part of May.


"Again, Barry was concerned about his employees, so the good folks at Sullivan Tire have agreed to step up and will be interviewing our Norwood team for positions in one or more of their 73 locations."


Direct Tire will honor all of the warranties for its Norwood customers in the Watertown location. Employees also will be reaching out to Norwood customers who had seasonal tires and wheels stored on site.


Direct Tire says it has been "feeling the love for Barry" over recent days, as employees, clients, vendors "and anyone who knew him" have reached out. "He had that rare ability to touch so many different lives. We miss him."


The company says Steinberg "had been working diligently over the last few years to find partners who would carry on the tradition he painstakingly built."

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