ELMIRA, N.Y.-Not every program a company runs has to make money to be considered a success. At least that's the attitude of Twin Tier Tire Corp. President Carleton Eldrett, who contends dabbling in custom raised-lettered retreads has benefited his firm.
``It's just mainly (public relations) for us,'' Mr. Eldrett said of the company's practice of spelling out custom phrases on the retreads of some of its regular customers. ``It's not a profitable thing for us, and we don't want it to be.''
Twin Tier isn't interested in expanding its custom lettering service since it takes ``quite a bit of time'' above and beyond its normal precure process, he said.
The Elmira-based Bandag Inc. franchise, which also has truck and light truck retread shops in Horseheads and Belmont, N.Y., has been labeling retreads for about two years.
It all began when a local distributing company decided to make a replica of a Bud Light delivery truck seen in some television advertisements.
For the replicated truck, Twin Tier supplied front tires with ``Lady Luck'' and rear tires with ``Bandag Eclipse'' written in raised, white letters. Since then, the company has added its own name to the Bud Light truck tires.
That truck, which is driven each month by the distributing company's ``driver of the month,'' regularly appears for promotions at the nearby Watkins Glen racetrack, in Watkins Glen, N.Y., giving Twin Tier added exposure to the motoring public.
Two other local businesses have trucks regularly using retreads bearing the raised white lettering.
And, of course, the Bandag franchise's road service trucks themselves are equipped with retreads reading ``Twin Tier.''
Still, with all of those tires rolling around the streets of south central New York, Mr. Eldrett said he does not believe the lettering service has drummed up additional business for Twin Tier.
``It has cemented business with those we (already) do business with, but I'm not sure it has really brought in any (new business),'' Mr. Eldrett said. Rather, it is a sense of ``pride'' and the interest of morale that has kept the program alive at the company, he said.