OXNARD, Calif.-The Tire Alliance Groupe (TAG), a year-old buying group comprising six of North America's largest independent tire dealerships, has expanded its roster with the inclusion of Mr. Tire Auto Service Centers of Savage, Md., and Tire Barn Warehouses of Anderson, Ind. With Mr. Tire's 27 outlets and Tire Barn's 16 locations, TAG now represents 468 stores in 29 states and the District of Columbia.
The group plans to continue recruiting members in its goal to ``fill in the map throughout the United States and have representation in every city and market,'' according to Daniel Beach, TAG's president and CEO.
TAG was created by the retailers to take advantage of nationwide programs and volume purchasing discounts. The group includes: Don Olson Tire & Auto Centers, Clear Water, Fla.; Michel Tire Co., Cincinnati; Parnelli Jones Inc., Ventura, Calif.; Somerset Tire Service Inc., Bound Brook, N.J.; Tires Plus Groupe Ltd., Burnsville, Minn.; and Tire Warehouse Central Inc., Keene, N.H.
Since its inception there has been great interest in joining the unique association, Mr. Beach said. But until recently, TAG limited itself to the original six members as it was a more manageable group with which to establish contracts with suppliers, Mr. Beach said.
After securing tire supply contracts earlier this year with Kelly-Springfield Tire Co. and Continental General Tire Inc., TAG is now focusing on increasing its membership, as well as negotiating supply contracts for products and financial and marketing services.
More announcements on new members are expected soon, Mr. Beach said. But not just anyone can join. TAG membership is limited to dealerships that can buy a minimum of 50,000 tires annually and whose business is at least 75 percent retail.
``TAG is unique among today's buying groups because it focuses exclusively on the retailer and how we can combine our companies to gain operating and marketing synergies,'' Mr. Beach said. ``This is in contrast to the wholesaler-dominated groups whose focus is on identifying products and services that can be packaged and `resold' to their associates.''
TAG is currently negotiating contracts for auto parts, shock absorbers, bulk oil, a credit card program, check guarantee service and insurance.
Mr. Tire's Fred Tomarchio said his main consideration for joining TAG was ``the opportunity to share and benefit from the incredible base of retail experience within the group. It is impossible to put a value on the willingness of successful merchants in your own business to share their secrets.''