Morgan Tire Clearwater, Fla.
Morgan Tire, which operates Don Olson Tire & Auto Centers, continued its aggressive expansion in Florida during the past year, with a net gain of 13 retail outlets.
The dealership added 16 outlets during the year, but in two instances, combined two locations into one, and closed another, leaving the dealership with a net total of 84 retail outlets, Chairman Larry C. Morgan said.
The past-year expansion included six stores in Palm Beach County, an area where Olson Tire is growing. The remaining additions were fill-ins in areas where the dealership currently does business, Mr. Morgan said.
Along with the growth in stores, Olson Tire boosted 1994 retail sales to $77 million from $53.3 million in 1993. Total company sales, including commercial and wholesale, jumped to $98.3 million from $68 million the year before.
As for 1996, Olson Tire has no plans to slow down its fast-paced growth with 15 retail store additions, all in Florida, on the drawing board.
The dealership provides a variety of automotive services covering brakes alignment, suspension, tune-ups, air conditioning, exhaust and lube and oil.
Tires offered include Bridgestone, Michelin, Firestone, Dayton, Road King, General, Pirelli and Falken.
O.K. Tire Stores
Langley, British Columbia
``Things are going fairly well for us-I think we're kind of the right company at the right time.''
Don Blythe, president and general manager of O.K. Tire Stores Inc., was describing what he believes is the current state of the retail tire industry: ``A dealer definitely has to join some kind of group to survive.''
`` . . Dealers have learned to trust us,'' Mr. Blythe continued. ``They realize we're not a fly-by-night company.''
O.K. Tire-which was founded in the U.S. in 1938, entered Canada in 1953, and has been dealer-owned since 1974-currently has 144 franchised stores. ``We'll definitely be at 150 well before the end of this year,'' Mr. Blythe promised.
Plans are to add a dozen stores in the coming year.
The dealership's sales in 1994 totaled $97.86 million in U.S. dollars, according to the average annual exchange rate ($133 million Canadian). It projects 1995 sales to hit $107.06 million ($145.5 million Canadian).
At the beginning of 1995, O.K. Tire signed on one store each in Quebec and New Brunswick, new territories for the company. Since joining the dealer group, both stores have added retreading and mechanical services, and are ``doing all right,'' according to Mr. Blythe. O.K. Tire also added retail stores in Alberta and Ontario.
While he admitted television advertising is ``very expensive,'' Mr. Blythe said the company spent about $400,000 on it this year, with much of that going toward a special ``TV blitz'' during the Stanley Cup hockey finals last spring.
The theme of the successful ad campaign, he explained, was: ``We're your local tire store-the person who runs the business lives in your community.'' At least one of the series of commercials ended with a dealer saying, ``I have to look after my customers because they know where I live!''
No products or rubber company signs were shown in any of the commercials, save for the O.K. Tire identification.
Oliver & Winston
Oliver & Winston, which operates Winston Tire Co., added three retail stores during the past year, bringing the company's total number of outlets to 170. All of the stores are company-owned and located in California.
The new outlets opened in Madera, Tulare and Blythe. TIRE BUSINESS estimates Winston Tire had 1994 retail sales of about $140 million.
The company described last year's business climate as a ``very competitive market impacted by economic conditions in California.''
The company sells its own Winston private label tire and also carries Michelin, Toyo and Akuret. Winston Tire also performs front-end, brake, alignment and oil change services.
Tire sales continued steady growth for Peerless Tyre Co.,which opened its 47th outlet this year, in Texas, and anticipates opening two additional stores in the coming year.
President Sam Forbes said total corporate sales climbed about 5 percent to $68.5 million in 1994. While he declined to state retail tire and automotive sales, TIRE BUSINESS estimated that the company's retail sales were $24 million, about 34 percent of total revenues. The balance of revenues is generated by gasoline outlets.
The 47 retail outlets in South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas are dedicated to tire sales and service, with 11 stores offering limited automotive service.
In addition to the company's own Peerless private brand tire, the stores sell Bridgestone, Dean and Nokia tires.