MEMPHIS, Tenn,—The recent addition of Terry's Tire Town Inc. to American Car Care Centers Inc.'s roster of member distributors filled an important gap in ACCC's nationwide coverage, according to the top executive of the independent tire dealers marketing group. The alliance between ACCC and Terry's Tire Town is an ``obvious, natural fit,'' ACCC President and COO Len Lewin said, referring to Terry's and the 26-member ``Tire Team'' marketing cooperative Terry's has created in northeast Ohio.
Prior to signing up Alliance, Ohio-based Terry's in early March, ACCC's member distributors closest to the populous northeast Ohio market—which includes Cleveland and Akron—were Belle Tire Distributors Inc. in Allen Park, Mich., and Tire Discounters in Cincinnati.
Founded in 1973 by Terry Tolerton, Terry's Tire Town has three retail outlets in Ohio and one in Pittsburgh, a Bandag retread shop and a 110,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in Alliance. Employment stands at 150.
During the past two years, Terry's has recruited 26 dealers to participate in the Tire Team co-operative.
``Our Tire Team dealers were asking us for a nationwide warranty,'' said Will Tolerton, vice president of Terry's.
``In fact, what they (Terry's) were doing is trying to create a lot of the things that exist with American Car Care,'' Mr. Lewin said. Tire Team dealers who decide to join ACCC will have access to dealer programs and products with a national warranty.
``Most of our major competitors offer a nationwide service and tire warranty,'' Mr. Tolerton said. ``In today's market, we feel that's a tremendous advantage.''
He added that exclusive access to ACCC programs in his market also will help Terry's expand its Tire Team.
Under the ACCC umbrella, Messrs. Tolerton and Lewin expect to build the Tire Team to about 65 dealers within two years. Mr. Tolerton said Terry's had had aspirations of spreading its Tire Team concept nationwide, but he acknowledged it would have taken a tremendous amount of time and resources to accomplish that.
``Now we are part of a national organization that gives us and our dealers a lot of clout,'' he added.
Mr. Tolerton said efforts to recruit new members to the Tire Team were suspended while Terry's was in negotiations with ACCC.
Mr. Lewin said he hopes Terry's will add all of its dealers to ACCC's present roster, which would push membership close to 1,000. Mr. Tolerton said he didn't consult current Tire Team members about joining ACCC, but he expects to have the additional dealers signed up in two to three years.