Point S Plans to Nearly Double Store Total in 5 Years

Jan. 30, 2023

Point S tire dealers in the U.S. closed the 2022 books with a 10% increase in sales and a multi-faceted plan to keep those increases coming in the future. That plan includes rolling out the welcome mat for new dealers who are looking for buying power, but aren’t necessarily ready to rebrand and commit to the blue and green way of life.

Clint Young, chief operating officer for Tire Factory Inc., the cooperative that manages the Point S brand in the U.S., says the group has adopted four growth initiatives. Two are defensive moves to retain the dealers and stores already in the cooperative, and two more are designed to bring more dealers into the fold.

On the defensive end, Point S is offering $10,000 to existing owners who are ready to exit if they sell their store to another Point S dealer. Current dealers can also earn a $10,000 referral bonus if they recruit and refer another tire dealer to join the cooperative.

The company is also offering assistance to existing dealers who open another location. “Some are very brave about taking that leap,” Young says, while others have held themselves back because of some steps in the process, whether that be in site selection or Small Business Administration paperwork.

Clint Young, chief operating officer for Tire Factory Inc., says the cooperative has created programs to entice existing dealers to consider expansion, and new dealers to join the Point S family.


But the biggest move for Point S USA – and the one that signals an about face from recent efforts – is the creation of an Associated Dealer program which would allow tire dealers to join the Point S network of dealers without rebranding.

Young says the Associated Dealer program gives Point S some flexibility in welcoming new members. More dealers and locations means the group can continue to bulk up its purchases and secure competitive agreements with suppliers. Tire dealers can also use the program as a test toward gradual full membership in the group.

Chris Cornelius, current chairman of the Point S board of dealers, expects the program to result in more stores joining the network.

“We’ve created such a powerful branding and back up (system),” Cornelius says. “It’s a baby step.

“My view is they get in and if in three or four years they don’t want to rebrand, it’s not on them, it’s on us. What are we missing?

“We’ve got independent dealers out there struggling and they don’t need to be,” Cornelius says.

Often times, Young says, dealers struggle with back-end tasks, such as IT, the marketing. They are attracted to Point S “if we can lift a lot of that burden.”

The program, which was rolled out to members in August, is already working. Of the record 28 new stores the cooperative opened in 2022, 12 are Associated Dealer locations, Young says.

There are now 275 Point S locations in the U.S. in 29 states, including two states where the group hasn’t operated previously: Alabama and South Carolina.

As part of the cooperative's 40-year anniversary celebration, Point S honored its longtime, legacy tire dealers, including Clair and Anne Thueson, founders of Clair and Dee's Point S in Rexburg, Idaho.


Those new markets represent the group’s continued efforts to grow eastward. And at the annual dealer meeting at the end of January, where it celebrated its 40th anniversary, Tire Factory CEO Walter Lybeck announced the group’s bold plan for the next five years: 500 stores in 50 states.

Brandon and Diana Haltiwanger are among the newest Point S dealers. Brandon’s father started the business 46 years ago, and the second generation took over ownership eight years ago. Forrest’s Tire Service in Johnston, S.C., is a single-store operation that sells tires in all sizes, from passenger and light truck, to ag, off-the-road and small tires, too.

Brandon Haltiwanger says his top need was “to buy better.” But he’s already discovered there’s more to Point S.

“We’ve always been alone. We’re not alone anymore,” he says.

Brandon and Diana Haltiwanger are among the newest Point S tire dealers in the U.S. They joined the group this fall, and will rebrand Forrest's Tire Service into Forrest's Point S in Johnston, S.C. They joined in the retro-'80s party as Tire Factory looked back to the decade where its business began.


There is still one way that the Haltiwangers are on their own – they’re currently the only Point S members in the state of South Carolina. They’ll begin rebranding their store soon, and recruiters are working to add more locations in the state and region.

Chip and Patti Preston have a few more years of Point S experience behind them. He Is operations manager for Sterling Quality Point S in Clinton, Utah, and also a part-owner of another store, Woodruff Point S in Ogden.

He’s been a part of the cooperative for 20 years, and says in recent years as more Point S stores have opened in Utah, consumers have begun to recognize and become familiar with the Point S brand.

“Point S gives us national recognition,” Preston says. He acknowledges it has taken time. “It’s been quite a switch to get to this point.”

But he appreciates the brand’s high standards. Sterling Quality Point S was among the brand’s “top shops” in 2022, meaning it met branding and appearance standards during a comprehensive site review.

“Point S holds us to a standard. It’s a brotherhood. For us to buy (tires) with the big guys, that’s something we couldn’t do on our own.”

Chip and Patti Preston have 20 years of history with Tire Factory and Point S. Even though Sterling Quality Point S in Clinton, Utah, is an automotive service-heavy location, with tires only accounting for 30% of overall sales, Chip says the buying power of Point S is critical to his daily business.


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.