MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (Feb. 27, 2014) — Tire Town Inc., a Michelin consumer and truck tire dealer in Myrtle Beach, has opened a retread plant in that city using Oliver Rubber materials and technology.
"Our commercial business has been a significant part of our day-to-day operations, so adding our Oliver retread facility was the next important step to expand our business," said Chris King, Tire Town's general manager and director of operations.
"We can now offer retreads to our commercial customers and continue to leverage our existing high-quality processes, equipment and service trucks. This expansion will help us enhance Tire Town's solid reputation."
Tire Town held a grand opening/ribbon cutting Feb. 26, where the company entertained a handful of potential new customers, Mr. King said.
Oliver selected Tire Town "due to the reputation that it has for first-class quality and service in the market it serves," said Steven Phillips, Oliver's director of sales. Oliver Rubber is a business unit of Michelin Americas Truck Tires.
Tire Town is the only licensed Oliver retreader in South Carolina and one of 80 nationwide. The company covers a territory stretching into eastern North Carolina along the I-95 corridor and as far south as Charleston, S.C., Mr. King said.
The plant, in a 15,000-sq.-ft. building that previously housed Tire Town's wholesale business, operates as East Coast Rubber Manufacturing Co., a unit of Tire Town. Tire Town invested about $400,000 in equipment and building improvements to install the retread plant.
The plant is operating with five employees, but Mr. King expects this will grow to 15 to 20 in the coming years.
The plant started trial production late last year and has ramped up to more than 300 tires a month. The goal is to hit 500 tires a month, or one 25-tire chamberload per day, Mr. King said.
Mike Bodway, a former employee and retread plant veteran, has returned to Tire Town to be the plant manager, Mr. King said.
Tire Town, founded by Lanier Alford 45 years ago, operates five predominantly retail locations in and around Myrtle Beach, including a commercial/retail store that opened in January in Conway, S.C..
Retail makes up about 40 percent of Tire Town's annual sales, with wholesale and commercial accounting for about 30 percent each.
Mr. King has been with the dealership since 2008.