Award In July, Tire Centers Inc. opened a combination warehouse and retread plant in a rundown section of North Kansas City, Mo.
Five months later, the Clay County Economic Development Council and the Clay County Commission honored TCI as one of 15 businesses that made a significant contribution to the county's economy in 1998.
The 50,000-sq.-ft. renovated warehouse serves as a distribution center for TCI's commercial tire customers in Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska.
``We gave it a good facelift and cleanup,'' said Don Dollinger, plant manager. A new roof, new equipment and remodeling cost TCI about $2.5 million, he said.
A retread plant using a pre-mold process from Michelin North America opened last July in the building. It is producing about 250 tires per day, Mr. Dollinger said, and may reach more than 300 daily by mid-summer.
Kansas Tire and Auto Inc. in Topeka, Kan., is adding a 2,100-sq.-ft. repair facility, its first expansion in 24 years.
Owner Randy Carman said the new building will have four bays. It is across the street from the dealership's main building. Eventually, the new structure could house six bays.
In addition to its biggest seller, the Telstar private brand, Kansas Tire also handles Michelin, BFGoodrich, Bridgestone and Firestone.
Mr. Carman started at Kansas Tire in 1972 and bought the business three years later. About half of its $1 million in annual sales comes from automotive service; tire sales provide about 40 percent and the remaining 10 percent comes from the sale of used cars—about 10 cars a month—which are rehabilitated by Mr. Carman's 10 employees.
April will mark the first anniversary of Lynchburg, Va.-based Harris Tire Wholesale Inc.'s purchase of its largest wholesale customer, Twin County Tire, Galax, Va.
Ron Justice, company president, said sales at Twin County are expected to top $1.5 million for the fiscal year, which ends in May.
The 25,000-sq.-ft. facility, located in a former car dealership, has five technicians and performs most auto services. It is managed by Twin County Tire co-founder, David Hash, whose brother, Donnie, another co-founder, also works at the dealership.
Harris Tire, founded in 1967 by Tommy Harris, formed a wholesale division in 1983. Last year, its retail and wholesale divisions were incorporated separately.
Mr. Justice said the wholesale company expects about $8 million in sales for the year. Harris Tire distributes in Virginia and parts of West Virginia and North Carolina.
Techmaster Tire & Auto Service opened a second location on Nov. 16 in DeLand, Fla.
A full-service independent Goodyear dealership, Techmaster opened its first location in Daytona Beach, Fla., about two and a half years ago.
Mark Shaffer, manager of the DeLand location, said each site has 10 bays and about 10 employees.
Suburban Tire Co. of Dayton, Ohio, is beginning its 21st year as an independent Goodyear dealer. The company sells all types of tires, from passenger to off-road, and also operates Goodyear retread plants at all three of its locations.
Suburban Tire's main office is in Dayton and includes an 80,000-sq.-ft. warehouse with heavy duty alignment racks, rim/wheel reconditioning and two drive-through tire service bays. The company's other locations are in Indianapolis and Edinburgh, Ind.
Direct Tire & Auto Service of Watertown, Mass., is taking its show on the road.
Barry Steinberg, president and CEO, refers to the company's delivery truck as a ``moving billboard'' because it features a giant advertising message.
The truck—which Mr. Steinberg said is getting a lot of attention—is used to move stock among the three Direct Tire stores, in Watertown, Norwood and Peabody, Mass.
A fire on Feb. 8 destroyed the Discount Tire Centers location in Cathedral City, Calif., but the dealership reopened just a few blocks away about two weeks later.
John Andonian, president of parent AKH Co. Inc. in City of Commerce, Calif., said the fire started in some tire casings piled outside the building. Authorities believe arson is involved, he added.
The 5,000-sq.-ft. building and its contents were completely destroyed. Damage is estimated at about $500,000.
``Almost all of the employees went to the scene during the fire,'' Mr. Andonian said.
He called the workers ``real loyal guys'' who spent numerous hours setting up a replacement dealership in a nearby auto repair shop that had gone out of business.
Plans are under way to rebuild the store at its former site.
AKH hopes the new building will be ready in about a year.