In mid-October, Action-Gator Tire Stores opened two more outlets in Orlando, Fla., in what previously had been Big 10 Tire Stores Inc. locations. According to President Fred Christensen, who co-owns Action-Gator Tire with his father, Paul, the new locations have open canopy service areas with the equivalent of about 10 service bays each.
Official grand openings are awaiting the approval of signage that the company expects to use at the new stores, Mr. Christensen said.
The dealership offers an extensive range of undercar and underhood automotive services, including tune-ups, but stops short of major engine and transmission work, he said.
Action-Gator's principal tire lines are Cooper and Goodyear, Mr. Christensen added.
With the recent additions, the company now operates 16 outlets, all in the greater Orlando area.
In the small community of Sisters at the eastern base of McKinsey Pass, the Taylor family has set up shop—hoping to catch motorists before they enter the Cascade Mountain Range.
Former district zone manager Jerry Taylor and his wife, Joan, opened their Les Schwab Tire Centers Inc. associate dealership Oct. 1.
Mr. Taylor's two sons, Jeff and Terry, both of whom work as managers, and Terry's wife, Melinda, store bookkeeper, are part of the outlet's 14 employees.
Currently, the dealership is operating out of a temporary site until their permanent facility is completed sometime next year, according to Terry Taylor.
The Taylors hope to capitalize on strong snow tire sales in the mountainous region—sales that already have been paying off for the 2-month-old operation.
``It's been going great; when you get that snow two weeks into it, it helps,'' he said.
In the ``heart of Les Schwab country,'' as Mr. Taylor calls it, the company has a lot of pressure to stay up to the customer service standards set by other area outlets of the Prineville, Ore.-based dealership chain.
``It's very important to make customer service our premium. If we don't treat our customers right, they're going to let us know,'' he said.
Next year the outlet plans to move into a newly constructed building that fits into Sisters' 1880s town feel, complete with a porch with a wooden railing, Mr. Taylor said.
Levin Tire Center marked a return to its roots with the grand opening in early October of its new outlet in Gary, Ind.—held concurrently with the grand opening of the company's newest outlet in Matteson, Ill. Both are eight-bay facilities.
The independent, family-owned Goodyear dealership was founded in 1918 in Gary, but moved its headquarters to a new location in Highland, Ind., in 1974, according to President Barry Levin. The original Gary location was sold.
In returning to Gary, Levin Tire took over the last remaining Goodyear company-owned retail store in northwest Indiana, Mr. Levin said. The Matteson location had been operated by another independent Goodyear dealer, he said, but had been closed for about six months when Levin Tire took it over in June.
Both acquisitions were made under the auspices of Goodyear's Blue Ribbon Expansion Program, which encourages existing Goodyear dealers to expand by making it possible for them to earn back some of their start-up costs by meeting predetermined business objectives.
Mr. Levin said he expects both of the new locations to meet their objectives.
With the recent additions, Levin Tire now operates seven outlets in northwest Indiana and adjacent northeastern Illinois.
Rapid population growth in the Clarkston, Wash., and Lewiston, Idaho, areas prompted construction of a new Les Schwab Tire Centers Inc. outlet in Clarkston, which lies just a few miles west of Lewiston in the southeast corner of Washington.
The company-owned outlet opened July 10 and is managed by Doug Manning, who previously managed a Les Schwab store in Republic, Wash.
``It's kinda been a goal of mine to pioneer a new store like this,'' Mr. Manning said.
The 12,000-sq.-ft., eight-bay retail/commercial outlet operates a 1-ton and 3/4-ton truck for on-the-road commercial service and employs 11.
Four of the bays are dedicated to alignment services, Mr. Manning said, and the store also offers brake, shock, custom wheel and battery sales and service.
The new Clarkston store is the second Les Schwab location in the area. The Prineville, Ore.-based dealership chain also has a store in Lewiston.
Twenty-five years ago, two former Dunlop Tires (Canada) Ltd. employees opened London Tire Sales Ltd.
On its silver anniversary, the wholesaler has grown to distribute tires within a 100-mile radius with two retail outlets, according to owner Evan Campbell.
Mason Keeler and Richard Hancock started the business in 1971. Mr. Campbell, who also worked at Dunlop, joined the two men one year later. Since that time he has become London Tire's full owner.
Mr. Hancock retired from the business last year; Mr. Keeler died in 1981.
The retail/commercial/wholesale dealership sells Michelin, Uniroyal, BFGoodrich, General and Toyo brand tires, as well as two associate brands—Michelin North America's Brunswick and Kelly-Springfield Tire Co.'s Republic—and the Brigadier private brand.
Based in Lobo, Ontario, the dealership also has locations in Strathroy and Hickory Corner, Ontario.
Parnelli Jones, a co-founder and one-time part-owner of the Southern California dealership that bears his name—Parnelli Jones Inc.—was inducted Nov. 16 into the San Diego Automotive Museum Hall of Fame.
Best known for his racing exploits, Mr. Jones won the Indianapolis 500 in 1963 and was the first driver to lap the Indianapolis Motor Speedway faster than 150 mph.
He went on to co-own one of the most successful teams in Indycar racing, the Vel's Parnelli Jones Racing Team, while remaining active as a driver in off-road events such as the Baja 1000, which he won twice.
Mr. Jones is the fifth member of the Hall of Fame, which opened in 1950. Other members are: Juan Manuel Fangio, Carroll Shelby, Roger Ward and Phil Hill.