WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.-Persistent rumors of the impending demise of Parkway Tire Co. appear to be nothing but that-rumors. And greatly exaggerated. Though some industry insiders have intimated that the private brand marketer's best days are behind it, that's far from the truth, according to W. Logan Jackson, president of both Parkway and its owner, Parrish Tire Co.
Parkway has begun winding down its current supply relationship with Michelin Americas Small Tires (MAST), but General Tire will step in soon to fill that manufacturing void.
And rather then phase out the Parkway label-which Parrish owns and is currently licensing to Parkway Tire until the end of 1994-Mr. Jackson promised that in the next six months ``you'll see an increase in Parkway's volume in the marketplace. We're going to grow the brand as best we can.''
MAST's association with Parkway stretches back to 1980, about the time Parkway was founded as a limited partnership comprising Winston-Salem-based Parrish, the Tire Factory in St. Louis, and Adirondack Tire, Albany, N.Y.
Parrish Tire, founded in 1946, also operates Tredtech Inc., another private brand buying group it launched on Jan. 1, 1992.
While he would not discuss how many units MAST supplies Parkway, Mr. Jackson said the split was by mutual agreement, and that the companies had a good relationship for 14 years-``and still do....''
During that time the Parkway brand was made by B.F. Goodrich, then Uniroyal-Goodrich Tire Co., and most recently by MAST.
The decision to switch, he said, in part arose from the success Tredtech has had with General as its manufacturer. ``I felt we're a better fit (at General),'' he said, ``and I think MAST would probably say the same thing...Some of (MAST's) requirements were a little too stressful on us....They didn't ask us to leave; they did everything they could to help us. Sometimes you just need to make a change. This happens to be one of those times.''
General's production of Parkway passenger, high performance and light truck tire lines-including some products that MAST cannot currently supply-was expected to be available in October, and should be in full swing by Jan. 1.
However, Parkway will no longer offer any bias-ply light truck tires, which were produced by Fidelity Tire Manufacturing Co. And Mr. Jackson doubts the private brander will add a medium truck line, nor offer any specialty tires for the time being.
``We need to get to market with the private brand manufactured by General within the product offerings they currently have,'' he explained, ``get that established and get our customer base'' before other considerations.
Mr. Jackson has a realistic approach to Parkway's future: ``We don't have aspirations of taking over the country with the Parkway brand. We just want good partners and customers (who can) do a good job.''