Fountain Tire Edmonton, Alberta
After undergoing some restructuring in the past year, the dealership is still fine-tuning two major changes undertaken in 1994.
Last year the company purchased 13 stores-in the Edmonton and Calgary markets-from Irvine, Calif.
Lansdale & Carr experienced a difficult 1995 with the death of company co-founder Don Carr and year-end sales that figure to be as much as $15 million below original projections.
The company now expects 1995 retail sales to total $50 million, the same as last year, but below the company's previously ``optimistic'' expectations of $65 million, according to President Floyd Ewton, who replaced Mr. Carr following his death in July.
The California economy continues to hamper the company's retail operations, Mr. Ewton said-particularly the severe job cuts in the aerospace industry.
``It's probably going to come back in California but not to the boom days of the '80s,'' he said.
The firm operates 35 4day Tire Stores, five Macho Tire Co. and three Teletire locations, as well as five franchised 4day Tire Stores in California, Texas and Pennsylvania. The company dropped its number of locations by six from the past year.
The stores perform tire-related service but derive 94 percent of their revenues from tire sales, according to Mr. Ewton.
Lansdale & Carr's other retail operations include golf shops and men's clothing stores.
Just another ``normal growth'' year for Les Schwab Tire Centers.
The dealership added 10 new stores in the past year, as it did in 1994, bringing its total to 261-of which 83 are associate stores.
President Phil Wick said plans call for adding five outlets in Nevada, and about eight in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and California.
Tire sales accounted for 59.7 percent of total sales from company stores in 1994, amounting to $450.5 million. The firm is projecting a 13.2-percent increase this year to $510 million.
Les Schwab-which operates in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, western Montana and northern California-handles Multi-Mile, Toyo, Hercules, Dean, Ohtsu and Monarch brands, and offers auto-motive service, predominantly alignments, brakes and shocks.
While he described business as ``good,'' Mr. Wick cited ``regulations-city, county, state and federal''-as most challenging for the company. ``They drive us crazy,'' he noted, adding that on the other hand, ``(we) get along great with customers and employees.''
Merchant's Inc. grew by 19 stores during the past year, thanks primarily to its purchase of Triad Tire & Automotive Inc. in Kernersville, N.C., last August.
That acquisition gave Merchant's 17 additional retail locations and three warehouses and expanded the company's marketing area into South Carolina. The Manassas, Va.-based dealership also closed two stores during the year and opened one in North Carolina, giving it a total of 129 retail-only locations, compared with 110 a year ago.
In addition, Merchant's operates three commercial/retail dealerships, for a grand total of 134 retail and commercial tire outlets.
James Matthews, Merchant's president and COO, said the company has pushed its new 29-minute tire installation this year, using more radio promotion. If Merchant's fails to meet the time limit, the company will give a $10 per tire refund. Customers have responded, he said, with tire sales up, and Merchant's hasn't had to ante up any refunds to date, he said.
For 1994, Merchant's posted $129 million in retail sales and projects that to increase to $139 million in 1995.
Total sales, which include those of the company's wholesale business and two Bandag retread shops, reached $215 million last year and are projected to rise to $235 million this year.
For 1996, Mr. Matthews indicated the company expects a big year for expansion, but he would not elaborate.
Merchant's offers a full comple-ment of automotive services and features a tire lineup that includes BFGoodrich, Michelin, Uniroyal, Kelly, Kumho, Pirelli, Hercules, General, Brigadier, Centennial, Bridgestone and Firestone.
Tire sales account for 40 percent of the company's retail business, with automotive service making up the remainder.
Michel Tire Co. returned to the expansion mode during the past year opening five retail locations, giving it a total of 46.
The expansions include two outlets in greater Cincinnati, three in greater Louisville, Ky.
The dealership also has two locations under construction-one each in Maysville, Ky., and Columbia City, Ind., that will open by the end of the year, leaving Michel Tire with 48 retail outlets, President Anthony Michel said.
Retail revenues have grown, too, climbing to $41 million in 1994 from $35 million in 1993. Mr. Michel projects a further increase to $48 million in 1995.
Total company sales, including the company's wholesale division and a small commercial operation, hit $52 million in 1994 and should reach $60 million in 1995, according to Mr. Michel.
He attributes much of this growth to a greater emphasis on radio advertising vs. newspaper, store upgrades that include additional equipment and remodeling, and an emphasis on employee training.
Regarding the latter, Michel Tire will open an employee training center in Cincinnati by the end of December. The stand-along facility will feature three bays, two classrooms and offices, Mr. Michel said.
The company also is focusing more heavily on tire sales, after emphasizing the automotive service portion of its business the past few years, Mr. Michel said.
As for 1996, Michel Tire plans to open six to nine new stores in its current marketing area of Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Florida.
Tires account for 75 percent of the company's retail sales and automotive service the remaining 25 percent.
Michel Tire offers Dayton, Michelin, Pirelli, Yokohama and Ohtsu brand tires and provides automotive services that include brakes, shocks, alignment, batteries, air conditioning, belts, hoses and filters.