Rice Tire Buys Central Tire, Ending the Westhafer Family Legacy

Bob Ulrich
Posted on February 15, 2019
Terry Westhaver was inducted into the Tire Industry Hall of Fame in 2008.
Terry Westhaver was inducted into the Tire Industry Hall of Fame in 2008.

Another key figure in the days when the American Retreaders Association was full of vibrant, fun and, yes, sometimes crazy people (why does Kevin Rohlwing come to mind when I write that?) is leaving the industry. This time it’s Terry Westhafer, president of Central Tire Corp., in Verona, Va.

At least he used to be the owner. After 57 years with the business, Terry, on the eve of his 72nd birthday, and his brother, Tommy, have sold the truck tire and retreading business to Rice Tire Co. out of Frederick, Md.

First, a little background. I had been with Modern Tire Dealer less than a month when I traveled to Louisville, Ky., for my first ARA Show. I still miss those days, when it seemed everyone in the retreading industry attended the convention and trade show. I interacted with some big names back then, including the late Ed Wagner. Marvin Bozarth, who retired a year ago, and Harvey Brodsky, who died less than two years ago, were also retreading luminaries with whom I became friends.

And then there was Terry Westhafer, the soft-spoken gentleman from Verona. He was an influential tire dealer and retreader at the time, but down to earth. His many years of service to the ARA, the former Tire Retread Information Bureau (still TRIB, but now the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau), the Tire Industry Association (TIA) and the Virginia Automotive Association earned him a spot in the Tire Industry Hall of Fame in 2008.

As I found out over time, Terry’s operation and way of doing business was a little bit different from other commercial tire dealers. He was a loyal Goodyear precure retreader, but also an AcuTread mold cure retreader. As he told me when I visited his operation in 2005, "When you manufacture the product yourself, you can differentiate it," he says. "We can make whatever we want as far as retread designs and special widths."

Rice Tire also uses the Goodyear precure system in addition to Goodyear’s UniCircle process. “What we do here, they do,” he says. “I’m satisfied with the way Rice goes to business – the way they treat customers, they way they treat their employees.”

Central Tire retreads an average of 110 truck tires a day, making it the 91st largest retreader on the MTD Top 100 Retreaders list. Rice Tire produces 130 retreaded truck tires a day, placing it 83rd on the list.

With the acquisition, Rice Tire will jump to 59th on the list.

In excellent health, Terry doesn’t intend to remain inactive. He will have time to spend with his wife, Patty; daughters Julie and Mary, who both live within driving distance; and four grandchildren.

He also is open to consulting, and as a certified TIA Commercial Tire Service trainer can continue to pass along the correct way to do things to the younger generation. All you have to do is ask.

When I called him to ask him about the sale, he was in the middle of preparing his inventory for the transfer. That will officially end the business started by Terry and Tommy’s father, Guy, in 1945.

It was time, says Terry, who wanted to make sure he and his brother exited on their own terms.

To read a more detailed story on the sale itself, check out this link: “Central Tire sells to Rice Tire after 74 years of family-owned business.”

Related Topics: acquisitions, Central Tire, retreading, Rice Tire, Terry Westhafer, Top 100 Retreaders, truck tires

Bob Ulrich Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Rudy Harris

     | about 4 months ago

    Terry I wish you the best, enjoyed the times you came up and spent time with Tom.

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