2014 included 'best month ever' for K&M Tire

Jan. 26, 2015

K&M Tire Inc. doesn’t expect to continue its rapid growth of the past few years , but that’s just fine for the leaders of this family-owned tire wholesaler based in Delphos, Ohio.

Since 2011 K&M has doubled its number of warehouses and employees, and in 2014 that growth included a southern expansion in Texas and Oklahoma. That’s a big reason the company chose Dallas as the site for its 2015 dealer convention. More than 600 dealers attended the two-day event in Dallas Jan. 22-23, including 100 dealers from the Lone Star State.

“We are still new to Texas and Oklahoma, so a lot of the dealers have never met us and maybe never heard of us,” said Cheryl Gossard, vice president of K&M. She said by having the dealer meeting close to home for those newest customers “they’ll figure out what K&M is about.”

K&M sells 30 brands of tires from 17 distribution centers, and the 18th warehouse is set to open in the next two months outside of Cleveland in Solon, Ohio. It operates 1.8 million square feet of warehouse space, and K&M trucks travel 35,000 miles a day serving up to 20,000 customers a year.

That’s quite different than it was in 1970 when Ken Langhals opened a two-bay gas station and sold “way less than 100 tires a week.” Langhals, president of K&M, said the company now sells 50,000 tires a week.

Langhals said business increased at most of the company’s warehouses in 2014.

“November was by far the best month we’ve ever had,” Langhals said.

Langhals and his daughter Gossard both said they don’t expect 2015 to be a year of rapid expansion and acquisitions.

“I don’t really care if we get any bigger,” Langhals said. “I care about how we’re taking care of our customers. If we’re not taking care of our customers, I don’t want to grow.”

During the company’s general session, Kevin Knebel, national marketing manager for K&M, told the crowd of dealers “our success is directly aligned with you, our dealers’ success.”

That general session included more than just a wrap-up of the state of business. Three-time Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl champion Emmitt Smith fielded questions from sportscaster Brad Sham, the voice of the Dallas Cowboys. Smith talked about everything from the New England Patriots and “Deflate-gate” to his early lessons about being a part of a team as a college football player. Today, Smith is a CEO and president of Emmitt Smith Enterprises, and includes construction, marketing, mobile telephone businesses as well as charitable causes.