Big O Tires announced it has opened three new franchised locations in New Mexico, Colorado and California. Jerry Pendergrass opened his franchise Jan. 2 at the Powers Center Shopping Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. He had operated an Amoco Service Center in nearby Monument, Colo., for almost 20 years.
Mr. Pendergrass said he decided on a Big O franchise after he stopped in an outlet in Cottonwood, Colo., to have a flat fixed. ``What can I say? I was very impressed with the way they did business,'' he said.
Gale and Arlette Miller started their Big O franchise Feb. 7 in the Northeast Heights area of Albuquerque, N.M.
Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Miller had worked in the automotive industry prior to their store's opening.
Dick and Jill Parry of Santa Maria, Calif., opened their Big O dealership Feb. 19. Their outlet, which has a bell tower, stucco walls and a tile roof, satisfies the city's beautification plan, which calls for structures designed with a Spanish colonial flavor along Broadway.
There are about 380 Big O outlets in 18 states.
Cleveland-based Mueller Tire opened its sixth location, a seven-bay location in Mentor, Ohio, Jan. 1, and announced it will open an eight-bay store in Hudson, Ohio in May.
The two new locations mark an extension in Mueller Tire's market beyond the Cleveland area it has operated in for the past 77 years.
The family-owned company's other five locations are located in Cleveland and its surrounding suburbs.
Steepleton Tire Co. in Memphis, Tenn., turned 50 last year.
The retreading company was founded in 1945 by A.E. Steepleton using General Tire's mold cure process known as the Kraft System.
In the late 1950s, the dealership became a Bandag retreader.
Today, the company is run by A.E.'s son, Edward, president, and grandson, Pat, vice president.
The man who coined Big O Tires Inc.'s name, J. Darwin Gunnell, was inducted into the Big O Tires Hall of Fame during the Englewood, Colo.-based company's dealer convention in Las Vegas, Feb. 11-14.
Mr. Gunnell was an Arizona area director for the former O.K. Tire in 1962 when he founded Big O Tires with 12 other O.K. Tire franchise owners.
``We wanted to return to a true dealer organization with greater opportunities and a national image,'' Mr. Gunnell said.
``Because we wanted a Better Image and Greater Opportunity, we simply took the first letters: B-I-G O.''
At one point, Mr. Gunnell and his family had interests in about 12 Big O stores.
Today, he still holds a financial interest in six Arizona franchises but has turned over operations to three of his six children.
Long Tire & Auto Service Center, a Goodyear dealership in Valrico, Fla., had the honor of awarding a grand prize 1996 Pontiac Grand Prix to one of its customers in the Kendall Motor Oil ``Twist & Shout'' Sweepstakes.
Mark Immel received the winning scratch-off card in December while preparing his car for a family trip.
The contest, which marked the first time Kendall tried an installer market sweepstakes, was so successful the company said it will use the format during four of seven sales promotions scheduled for 1996.
The remaining three sales promotions will target the retailer segment.
Big O co-founder J. Darwin Gunnell recently was inducted into the firm's hall of fame.
Tire Business photo by Sigmund J. Mikolajczyk