AKRON-Several of North America's largest retreading firms have announced plans to expand their operations and/or improve production efficiency. Following are some of the projects retreaders have completed or plan to complete this year.
Service Tire shops relocate, expand
BETHLEHEM, Pa.-Service Tire Truck Centers Inc. relocated its retread plant in Pocomoke City, Md., to Wilmington, Del., in March and is planning to move its headquarters and main retreading/service/warehouse facility in Bethlehem to a larger nearby building in late July.
The Maryland facility was small and too far away to service the company's customers, President Ron Bennett said. The new Delaware facility will double the operation's size, with a daily capacity of 100 truck tire retreads.
The new Bethlehem plant will include the newest Bandag retreading equipment and be capable of producing 400 units daily. The expansions will increase the firm's overall retreading capacity by 25 percent, said Mr. Bennett.
He described the retreading market as very competitive and ``that's why we need to improve efficiency where we can.''
Retread Mfg. nets optimum capacity
LOCUST, N.C.-Retread Manufacturing & Tire Sales boosted its passenger and light truck retread output in 1994 when it expanded deeper into the Virginia market, according to owner Artie Kluttz.
While the Locust-based retreader faces stiff competition from low-priced new tires, Mr. Kluttz said retreads have been selling better in depressed areas of Virginia.
Also last year, Retread Mfg. added new mold sizes for light truck retreads, rounding out the company's product offering.
Mr. Kluttz said the plant has reached optimum production levels. ``We want to confine (production) to 350 to 450 units a day,'' he said, adding that trying to do more could affect product quality.
Pomp's bo build 10th retread shop
GREEN BAY, Wis.-Pomp's Tire Service Inc., which boosted its truck tire retread production about 12.3 percent in 1994, added a retread shop to its commercial outlet in Rockford, Ill., in December.
Later this year, the Green Bay-based dealership plans to construct its 10th retread plant, primarily for medium truck retreads, next to an existing commercial outlet in Hammond, Ind.
Purcell to open plant in St. Louis
POTOSI, Mo.-Purcell Tire & Rubber Co. opened its seventh retread plant in Reno, Nev., at the end of last year and relocated a truck tire retreading operation in Phoenix to a larger facility in the city.
By the end of this summer, the Potosi-based firm plans to open another plant as part of a proposed ``megacenter'' in St. Louis. The megacenter will be located at the site of an existing small outlet and will result in expanding the services and sales capabilities of that location, a spokesman said.
Schwab bolsters retreading capacity
PRINEVILLE, Ore.-Les Schwab Tire Centers added 46,000 square feet to its Prineville plant last August that will enable it to double capacity for truck tire retreading.
But the expansion was done more to improve efficiency than to boost current production, according to Dan Roberts, executive vice president of retreading.
This year, the dealership plans to open a 400,000-sq.-ft. facility in Prineville to house a warehouse, distribution and trucking center.
Fletcher's buys two OTR firms
PHOENIX-Fletcher's Cobre Tire expanded into the eastern U.S. with the acquisition of two off-the-road tire dealerships this year.
Fletcher's, which operates commercial, OTR and retreading operations in the western U.S., purchased Mennco Tire of Strawberry Plains, Tenn., on Jan. 1 and acquired McGrew Tire of Holden, W.Va., April 1.
Mennco Tire, with four locations in Tennessee, West Virginia and Kentucky, and McGrew Tire, with four outlets in West Virginia, will continue to operate under their respective names, according to President Jerry Fletcher. Each operation averaged about $10 million to $12 million in annual sales.
Mr. Fletcher said the firm intends to expand its OTR business on a nationwide basis.
Southern Tire adds plant to La. outlet
COLUMBIA, Miss.-Southern Tire Mart Inc. is building a medium truck retread shop, due to open this spring, near its truck tire center in New Orleans.
The Columbia-based dealership opened another plant in February in Sulfur, La., acquired two retread shops late last year in Houston and Longview, Texas, and said it plans to continue expanding in Texas this year.