The passenger tire retreading business lost perhaps its best-known player when Achievor Tire L.P. shut down production in early July. And that's a shame. Achievor, a producer of quality remolded passenger and light truck tires, wasn't in dire financial straits. Unlike many passenger tire retread companies that have succumbed to low-priced competition from new tires and a lack of customers, Chicago-based Achievor was operating in the black.
Under the firm's new owners, Achievor had fought its way back to solvency in the past year. But the company lost the lease on its 70,000-sq.-ft. tire-remolding factory after the owner of the building chose not to renew it and was unwilling to negotiate an extension.
Without the luxury of time to search for a new location, the company was forced to close, putting 50 people out of work.
The demise of Achievor is more than the loss of another retreader. It's a blow to the business of retreading passenger tires, which offers consumers a low-priced, high-quality alternative to new tires.
Achievor was a major player in the industry, producing about 1,000 bead-to-bead remolded passenger tires per day.
It was the company the Tire Retread Information Bureau referred to when fielding questions from consumers looking for a ``national'' company that produced retreaded passenger tires.
It was a company that produced a product of such quality that Sears, Roebuck and Co. chose to offer it in its catalog. Achievor then weathered the loss of that business when, in 1993, the mass merchandiser pulled the plug on the catalog.
It was a company supplying remolds for a burgeoning export business that was shipping tires into Central and South America, Eastern Europe and Russia.
It was a ray of hope in a declining industry segment.
The loss of Achievor leaves a void in the market that other passenger tire retreaders would do well to fill quickly. If they don't, passenger tire retreading could see another chunk of its business lost forever.