BOUNTIFUL, Utah—At this point in his life, 26-year-old Jay Jenkins has a ``full plate.'' Last year, he and his wife Emily gave birth to their first child—a girl. And in November he had a "delivery" of a different kind: He opened an American Car Care Centers dealership in Bountiful, a bedroom community just north of Salt Lake City.
You might say the 10-year veteran of the tire business has developed a serious case of ``rubber poisoning''—a disease he probably contracted from his family.
His uncle, Clayton Snow, owns an ACCC dealership in South Jordan, Utah. And years ago, two other family members were involved with the old O.K. Rubber Welders franchise group that eventually spawned Big O Tires Inc.
Mr. Jenkins set the course for his career when he worked at a Big O Tires store as a high school co-op student. After high school, he continued to work for Big O in a variety of positions until last fall, when he decided to quit in order to start his own dealership.
During the last two weeks of October, Mr. Jenkins, with help from his father and brothers, converted a former gas station into Jay's American Car Care Center, making it ``look like a tire store.''
That meant removing a triangle-shaped awning—the distinct feature of Phillips 66 stations—repainting the interior and exterior, renovating the service counter area and installing new equipment.
``It's been awesome,'' he said about the opening last November of his three-bay shop.
To promote his new outlet, Mr. Jenkins has done print and radio advertising, and even held a radio contest that attracted 65 people who came to the store for a drawing for a set of tires and shocks.
Business has picked up since January and he expects to reach about $850,000 in sales by the end of his first year.
The dealership has nine employees including Mr. Jenkins' 24-year-old brother, Trent.
A lot of Mr. Jenkins' former customers followed him to his new store, located in a residential area with his nearest competition at least a mile away.
About 60 percent of his sales are tires which, in addition to ACCC products, include Goodyear, Yokohama and Pirelli. He also installed two lifts outside to service additional vehicles when weather permits.
Mr. Jenkins' new venture received a lot of support from his family. ``I'm proud of him,'' said his uncle. ``I mostly encouraged him and told him I knew he could do it.''
Mr. Snow said he talked with his nephew a lot before Mr. Jenkins made his decision to go out on his own, encouraging him to affiliate with ACCC rather than stay fully independent.
``It's a different world being an owner rather than a manager,'' Mr. Snow said.
Mr. Jenkins plans to buy the building he's currently leasing. Though he has no interest in adding another location, he said he wants to help his brother start his own dealership.
He also plans to spend the rest of his career at what he's doing. ``The tire business is for me,'' he said.