DALLAS-Less than two years after Sears, Roebuck and Co. shut its catalog business and stopped purchasing retreaded tires, retreader Achievor Tire L.P. is on the rebound. So far this year, the Chicago-based producer of remanufactured, bead-to-bead tires has signed two of North America's largest independent tire dealership chains-Metro 25 Tire, headquartered in Detroit, and Town Fair Tire Centers in East Haven, Conn.-to carry its product line. Achievor now has nearly made up the loss of business once generated by the Sears catalog.
Plans call for increasing production through the purchase of additional molds and tooling to keep up with projected demand.
``When it closed, the Sears catalog was 70 percent of our business,'' said Achievor President Richard Gust. ``It (the closing) put us in trouble.''
Since the Sears' catalog's demise, Achievor has changed its marketing philosophy, he said, to one that aims to attract independent tire dealers, rather than maintaining a large single customer.
The strategy, which promotes Achievor remanufactured tires as a quality line that represents a good value to the customer, appears to be succeeding.
The Rao Group, which operates 15 company-owned Metro 25 Tire outlets in the Detroit area, along with a majority of the 100 or so independent Metro 25 dealerships it wholesales to in Michigan and Northern Ohio, began selling Achievor tires in August.
Rao Group had been test marketing the tires in a few stores for about six months before deciding to offer the line to Metro 25 dealers in the two states.
Duane Rao, president of Metro 25, said the stores are using the remanufactured tires as an opening price point product and are making money on them, something that is not always the case with new price-point tires.
``It's phenomenal to be the lowest price in the paper and to still be profitable,'' he said.
The addition of the Achievor line also has made the firm's former entry-level tire line-the National private brand-more profitable. Instead of offering those tires as a loss leader, Mr. Rao said the company is instead selling up to them and has positioned the National brand to allow for gross profits of between 15 and 20 percent.
Mr. Rao expects virtually all Metro 25 stores nationwide to take on the Achievor line.
Achievor Tire produces only bead-to-bead remanufac-tured tires including passenger, all-season in P-metric and metric sizes, smaller car radials in metric and 70-series sizes, a performance line of S- and H-rated tires in 50-, 60-and 70-series sizes, and a complete radial light truck line.
Achievor provides no mileage warranty but guarantees its tires against failure due to workmanship or material defects for the life of the tread and will replace the tire for free.
Mr. Gust said Town Fair Tire took on the Achievor line about six months ago and is selling them in its own stores and wholesaling them to other independent tire dealers.
``Their reasoning is it provides a value tire and it's profitable,'' he said.