What do you get when you combine Southern Tire Mart LLC, the largest independently owned and operated commercial tire dealership in the United States, with one of the country’s largest truck stop chains, Pilot Flying J, which enjoys a presence in more than 40 states?
The answer: the formation of a commercial tire giant, Southern Tire Mart at Pilot Flying J.
Announced six months ago, the new entity has already assumed management and operations of 35 existing Pilot Flying J Truck Care maintenance facilities.
One hundred additional locations are slated to open within the next 12 months.
And Southern Tire Mart at Flying J wants a total of 200 outlets up and running within the next three years.
The company hasn’t wasted any time identifying possible locations on Pilot Flying J properties, according to John Boynton, president of Southern Tire Mart at Pilot Flying J and Southern Tire Mart executive.
“Plans for 26 initial new construction sites have begun and we are actively working on identifying the next 24 sites to bring the first wave of construction projects to 50,” he says.
“Our focus is on where our customers’ lanes of traffic are taking them and ensuring we are building a presence to serve their needs.”
'A natural fit'
Truck stop chains have sold tires and retreads for decades. And there is a history of tire manufacturer-owned truck tire sales and service operations setting up shop on - or next to - truck stop properties.
But rarely has an independent tire dealership formed such a close, branded partnership with a national truck stop chain.
The idea was to find a way “that Southern Tire Mart could extend our services in the immediate markets we serve onto a much broader scale to the extended markets Pilot Flying J serves,” says Boynton.
Southern Tire Mart, which is based in Columbia, Miss., has more than 140 commercial/retail outlets located across Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
At the same time, Southern Tire Mart recognized that Pilot Flying J “caters to a very impressive customer base that has been asking them to expand” the truck stop chain’s service capabilities.
“The value that we, as Southern Tire Mart at Pilot Flying J, want to capture is greater consistency of service and convenience with our customers.”
Retreads add value
All Southern Tire Mart at Pilot Flying J locations will offer Bandag retreads, most of which will be supplied by Southern Tire Mart retread plants.
Southern Tire Mart is the largest retreader in the United States, according to MTD’s 2021 Top 50 Retreaders List, which was published this past April.
The dealership has 24 plants that together produce an estimated 5,700 medium truck tire retreads per day.
Providing retreads “is a critical piece of the unique value we can achieve for our customer,” says Boynton.
“Building this network within the markets our customers serve and operate gives us a greater opportunity to improve their asset management and cost reductions.
“The opportunity to capture and retain fleet casing assets - as well as having them available to put back into service, when and where they need to be - will be a key piece of driving the value.”