Commercial Tires Lead Unit Growth for K&M Tire

Feb. 21, 2022

K&M Tire Inc. is on the cusp of opening its 32nd warehouse and the tire distributor says it has one goal: to be the leading and most trusted provider in its markets and for its customers.

During an interview with Modern Tire Dealer, company President Cheryl Gossard says K&M wants to provide its customers with top-notch service.

“We’re trying to be real partners with them - trying to make decisions that help them be more successful. We know they need to be successful for us to be successful,” she says. “We really want to do what’s best for them and help them grow and continue to thrive in this kind of market we’re in.”

In 2022, that market is driven by concerns tied to tire supplies.

Gossard says “inventory is lower than what we would like. We just continue to keep tires on order. (We’re) ordering further out than we normally would because we know it’s going to take longer for them to come in.”

She says some tire manufacturers are able to provide detailed and specific timelines of what tires will be available when.

“If they tell us it’s going to be 90 days or six months, then we can maybe look at different tires to bring in place of those (to fill in the gaps.) The vendors that are able to give us that information - it’s very helpful in helping us to then make decisions so we have something to offer our customers.”

But not all vendors have the capability to be so specific. She says “only three or four do a really good job at it and then some do an OK job.”

Because the company already has relationships with 54 tire brands, Gossard says the company hasn’t added new brands to fill in the gaps. Instead, when one brand is short on product, K&M Tire is more likely to supplement with tires from another existing brand.

During K&M Tire’s annual dealer meeting Feb. 17-18, Jeff Wallick, director of training, called it a “season of scarcity” for those in the tire industry and said that scarcity referred to product, as well as a shortage of employees.

Another year of growth

K&M Tire’s existing 31 warehouses cover the Midwest in every state from North Dakota to Texas and then move across the Great Lakes region and into the Northeast. Gossard says the company's 32nd warehouse will open in early April in North Platte, Neb. 

The company serves both retail and commercial dealers and Gossard says both sides of the business are growing.

“Our ag business and our commercial tire business continues to grow every year. The PLT does as well, but not nearly as fast as what the other ones are,” she says.

Many of K&M Tire’s customers operate in rural areas and small communities. Wallick says the tire distributor’s average customer is a store owned by a husband-and-wife team that has one or two additional employees.

Dave Miller, director of marketing for K&M Tire, says 1,600 of the company’s customers participate as either a Mr. Tire or Big 3 Tire store. And while those stores aren’t required to rebrand their locations using those names, participation in the program does open up opportunities like the ability to offer warranties, exclusive tire rebates and incentives and also the ability to earn bonuses on automotive parts.

In 2021, the parts rebates alone added up to $900,000 and Miller says that total has grown annually.

Collectively, Miller said the rebates, incentives and volume bonuses added up to $2.6 million in benefits paid to dealers last year.

K&M Tire: By the Numbers

  • 23 delivery routes added
  • 31 warehouses
  • 54 tire brands
  • 318 total delivery routes
  • 800-plus employees
  • 1,600 Mr. Tire and Big 3 Tire dealers
  • 22,000 total customers
  • $900,000 of parts rebates issued to Mr. Tire/Big 3 Tire dealers in 2021
  • 3.1 million square feet of storage space
  • 23 million miles traveled in 2021
About the Author

Joy Kopcha | Managing Editor

After more than a dozen years working as a newspaper reporter in Kansas, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, Joy Kopcha joined Modern Tire Dealer as senior editor in 2014. She has covered murder trials, a prison riot and more city council, county commission, and school board meetings than she cares to remember.