MINNEAPOLIS-The Tires Plus Groupe company-owned outlet in Minneapolis' Uptown district is just a tad different from the typical tire store. There's no coffee in the waiting area. There's no quaint background music in the showroom. There are no ``girly'' posters on the walls.
But don't get the impression the outlet, which opened in November, doesn't have its own amenities to attract customers. This Tires Plus outlet would rather use cappuccino, rock 'n' roll and fine art.
Positioned in one of Minneapolis' more ``artsy'' areas, the outlet is an extension of its surrounding neighborhood, a Tires Plus spokeswoman said.
``We want to be a part of the neighborhood,'' store manager Dan Cosgrove said during the store's recent grand opening.
Burnsville, Minn.-based Tires Plus operates 38 corporate outlets and 22 franchise locations, most in the Minneapolis-St. Paul ``Twin Cities'' area.
But the Uptown store is unique within Tires Plus.
``Becoming part of such a vibrant community is exciting,'' Mr. Cosgrove said. ``Being in Uptown allows for a little latitude in merchandising the store.''
Paintings and photographs hang above the showroom's tire displays. But they are not famous Rembrandt or Ansel Adams reprints. Rather, they are originals from artists like Steven Willis, who lives and works in his own photography studio about five minutes from the store.
The background music doesn't include instrumental versions of popular songs. Rather, it's a compilation tape featuring local rock groups.
The artwork and the music will change periodically, Mr. Cosgrove said, giving new artists a chance to display-and sell-their creations. The store will put the artists in contact with guests interested in purchasing their work.
But the art theme is only part of the Tires Plus outlet's atmosphere, which also includes typical company staples: a brightly lit showroom and a waiting area that includes a television, a VCR and coloring books designed and produced by Tires Plus.
The brick exterior of the store, with its large windows and red awnings, followed the company's new prototype, which recently won an architectural award for its ability to aesthetically fit in with the surrounding community.