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Coker opens West Coast D/C, wheel plant

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(Coker Group photos) Coker Group's new tire and wheel distribution center is located in City of Industry, Calif.

CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif. (Jan. 29, 2014) — Coker Group has opened a 100,000-sq.-ft tire and wheel distribution center in City of Industry to improve service to customers in the western U.S. and for export through West Coast ports.

A portion of the new center is devoted to manufacturing the firm's classic and vintage steel and wire wheels, Coker said. The facility opened with 40 employees.

Coker Group owner Corky Coker cuts the ribbon to open the company's new 100,000-sq.-ft. West Coast center during a grand opening event Jan. 22.

The center replaces a 15,000-sq.-ft. facility in Fresno, Calif., that Coker used for several years.

Coker Tire sold the Fresno building to Mike and Sherrie Stallings, the former owners of the custom wheel maker Wheel Vintiques Inc., in late 2011 after Coker had acquired the assets of Wheel Vintiques from them.

The Chattanooga, Tenn.-based specialist in vintage tires and wheels held a grand-opening gala Jan. 22, attended by local dignitaries, elected government officials, automotive celebrities, VIPs and select automotive media included City of Industry Mayor Tim Spohn, Congressman John Campbell and representatives from the offices of California Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, California Assembly Member Ian Calderon and Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina.

Mr. Spohn presented Coker Group Owner Corky Coker with a proclamation from the city.

Posing alongside the original Batmobile from the old Batman TV series are the vehicle's designer George Barris (left), Corky Coker, and Sherrie and Mike Stallings, former owners of custom wheel maker Wheel Vintiques Inc.

The new center also includes a small collection of vintage cars, motorcycles and assorted "automobilia" that is open to the public, Coker said. Eventually, the company will hold regular visitor tours of the mini museum as well as guided tours of its wheel production facility, where enthusiasts can watch their wheels being made.

Commenting on his decision to set up a West Coast base, Mr. Coker said: "While so many companies in the automotive aftermarket seem to be leaving California, we at Coker Group intentionally chose California with its huge automobile culture, availability of skilled work force, not to mention year round convertible weather."

Corky Coker and his dad Harold stand in Coker Group's new facility.

Among the brands Coker Group controls are: Coker Tire Co.; Honest Charley; The Great Race; Phoenix Race Tires; Specialty Wheel; Roadster Wire Wheels; Pro-Trac Tire Co.; Coker Cycle Co.; Chestnut Properties L.L.C.; Wheel Vintiques; and Coker Collectibles.

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