C & R Service Center owner Mike Christian has agreed to become Tire Warehouse Central Inc.'s 19th franchise location. The franchise is expected to open by mid-August in Mr. Christian's renovated outlet in Newport, N.H.
Tire Warehouse said the store plans to hold a grand opening ceremony this fall.
Currently, Tire Warehouse has 26 company-owned tire stores, 18 franchise locations and 30 auto parts outlets in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and New York.
Manassas, Va.-based Merchant's Inc. recently consolidated two Baltimore tire distribution and repair centers, relocating them to a former Goodyear facility just outside the city.
The renovated facility, located in the Halethorpe section of Baltimore County, holds eight service bays and about 150,000 square feet of warehouse space, according to President Jim Matthews.
The company was distributing tires to area stores from a 30,000-sq.-ft. warehouse, according to Mr. Matthews.
Currently, Merchants operates 12 distribution centers, 130 retail stores, 11 commercial locations and four Bandag Inc. retread plants.
Century Tire Co. of Portland, Maine, recently began a renovation project that will affect all four of its retail/commercial outlets.
To date, the company has completely renovated its 11-year-old store in North Windham, Maine. As part of the project, the company repainted the store front and bays, recarpeted and retiled the floors and completed some minor landscaping.
``It was a very beautiful store,'' Mr. Aronson said. ``It was starting to get a little shabby-looking-not much-but not the way we like it. . . . Now it looks the same as it did 11 years ago.''
Maintaining clean stores helps the dealership compete against larger retailers, he added.
In April, Caroon's Tire owner Jim Caroon Jr. opened his second location in Fredericksburg, Va.-a hometown he's found hard to leave.
The new Fredericksburg location-which has four bays-sits about four miles from the main store.
Mr. Caroon originally opened a Firestone dealership in Fredericksburg in 1974. He expanded the dealership to five locations before he sold all but part ownership of the Fredericksburg outlet to University Firestone. When University sold to Merchant's Inc. in 1989, he stayed on as manager and part owner of the same store.
He left the tire business in 1993, but after four months bought an interest in Akridge Auto Center in Richmond, Va. In March 1994, he returned to Fredericksburg when he bought Rosson and Troilo Goodyear.
Two tire industry veterans recently teamed up to open Quality Tire Service Ltd. in Regina, Saskatchewan.
The new outlet, which opened near the beginning of June, is a full-service passenger, light truck and farm tire dealership featuring Michelin, Dunlop, Yokohama, General and Hankook brand tires, according to co-owner Randy Johannsen, formerly of James Tire Centers.
Mr. Johannsen teamed up with Rick McLean, former manager of a Crown Tire Service outlet in Regina, for the venture.
``We decided we could show the industry some service,'' Mr. Johannsen said. ``I believe with the service levels that (currently exist in the industry) that the customer is dying for service.''
The husband-and-wife team of Mark and Sloane Girardin recently purchased Redcoat Tirecraft in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, an associate store of Tirecraft Auto Centers Ltd., based in Sherwood Park, Alberta.
Mr. Girardin said he had worked for five years at the location before buying it, and previously had worked at a Goodyear store in Weyburn. He and his wife took the reigns of the dealership in March.
Ideally, the couple would like to expand the single-location, three-bay retail/commercial dealership within three years, he added.
Tirecraft Auto Centers ranks as one of North America's largest independent tire retailers with more than 80 company-owned and associate stores in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Dale Jackson, a Big O Tires Inc. dealer in Colorado was one of six TRW Chassis Parts users to win tickets to the Summer Olympics in Atlanta through the TRW Chassis Parts Challenge.
The contest offered technicians and shop owners one drawing entry for every TRW Chassis Parts purchase from a Big A Auto Parts store. Each Olympic package included round-trip air fare, hotel accommodations and tickets to the opening or closing ceremonies and several events.