VIP Tires Inc. has opened its third new VIP Tires & Service store in three months. The latest is a larger location to serve customers in Claremont, N.H.
On Oct. 19 VIP Tires & Service opened a new store at 366 Washington St., across the street from its previous location at 323 Washington St. The new 9,100-square-foot Claremont location is double the size of VIP’s former location and features nine service bays, compared to five bays at the previous location. The larger space also allows VIP to store 20% more tires on site — 1,800 compared to 1,500. All eight employees are moving across the street, and VIP plans to hire one more Master ASE Technician to round out the staff.
“More and more customers are visiting our Claremont VIP store location for automobile service and repair, and we needed more bays to better accommodate them,” says Tim Winkeler, president and chief operating officer for VIP. “Plus, the customer area of the new facility will set a new standard in customer comfort, from the wood floors to the new improved tire displays, as well as a larger coffee station and a laptop bar for people who like to work while they wait for their vehicles.”
The staff in Claremont will also see an update in its workflow. They'll begin to use tablets at the store, so both service advisors and technicians will gain some efficiencies and be able to provide a better experience for consumers.
VIP has invested more than $1 million in the facility, including its purchase. The store will be open 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
As for the property across the street, VIP has locked in one of its partners as a tenant.
“Our old store will be occupied 100% by O’Reilly Auto Parts," says John Quirk, chairman and CEO of VIP. "This deal is a win-win situation, as both O’Reilly and VIP needed more space to meet growing customer demand. O’Reilly will continue to enhance its auto parts assortments with additional market coverage, and VIP will expand its service bay operations and expand our tire inventory."
At the end of 2012 VIP sold its auto parts business to O'Reilly, and since then O'Reilly has operated retail stores from within VIP's tire dealerships in New England.
VIP purchased its new property in Claremont, home of a former Ford dealership, at a foreclosure auction in May 2018.
Quirk says, "The 9,100 square-foot service center on 2.6 acres will help us to significantly grow our tire and service businesses. I’m very excited to further invest in the Claremont marketplace.”
VIP has 58 retail stores — 35 in Maine, 19 in New Hampshire, three in Massachusetts and one in Vermont. VIP is No. 17 on the Modern Tire Dealer 100 list of largest independent tire dealers in the U.S.
The company has had a busy late summer and fall season. In August VIP opened a new store in West Lebanon, N.H., and on Oct. 2 the company opened its first store in Vermont, in Williston. In September Modern Tire Dealer named Quirk its 2018 Tire Dealer of the Year.
Winkeler says, “The investment we’ve been making in our people over the last five years is paying off. Every day, more and more people trust our certified professionals to take care of their vehicles, so our sales and profitability have never been better, which allows us to find additional opportunities for new markets.”
For more information on VIP, visit: www.vipauto.com.