Expansion Somerset Tire Service Inc. of Bound Brook, N.J., acquired TR's Tire and Auto Repair, a one-outlet retail dealership in Ewing Township, N.J., on July 13. Cost of the purchase was not disclosed.
STS now has 65 company-owned outlets in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey with total annual sales of about $100 million. The 41-year-old retail chain, about 73 percent owned by its employees, is ranked 14th by Tire Business in number of company-owned retail outlets.
TR's is the fifth store STS has acquired or constructed in 1999. Mark Reiner, STS director of marketing, said the company plans to add about 10 more stores by the end of 1999, but he would not provide any details.
STS, in the midst of a three-year, $32 million expansion program, added five locations last year. ``Our strategy is to expand in contiguous markets,'' Mr. Reiner said. ``There is plenty of territory available in this tri-state area.''
After 31 years as the sole owner of Indio BFGoodrich Inc. in Indio, Calif., Wayne Bowers was tired.
So, when a salesman for Brawley, Calif.-based Kennedy's For Tires visited his shop in January and mentioned Kennedy's was looking to add a location in the Indio area, Mr. Bowers was interested.
On June 1, he sold his dealership to Kennedy's for an undisclosed sum. He will remain at the shop as retail sales and service manager.
``I had problems finding someone to be second in command,'' Mr. Bowers said. He hadn't had a vacation in seven years and didn't have the resources to take his business to the next level.
And it was a struggle to reopen, he added, after the original Indio BFG was destroyed by fire in 1990.
Initially, Kennedy's was concerned that his shop was too small, Mr. Bowers said. But since he also owned the property next door—room enough for expansion—that clinched the deal.
Mr. Bowers said Kennedy's has hired two additional employees and added commercial sales and service. The dealership now offers Goodyear and Kelly-Springfield brand tires and a larger inventory than he could previously provide.
One of the classiest places in Bernardsville, N.J., just might be the waiting room at Automotive Tire and Service Center.
Allen Mott, manager, likes to brag that ``it's a pretty comfortable atmosphere. People are pretty happy to come here.''
The 450-sq.-ft. lounge has comfortable furniture, a TV, free snacks and an adjacent children's playroom—visible from the lounge through large windows—stocked with toys and another TV set.
Mr. Mott said the playroom is an important feature. More than 80 percent of his customers are women and many have young children in tow when they bring vehicles in for service.
The Bernardsville location is the newest of Automotive Tire's three central New Jersey locations.
The 24,000-sq.-ft. facility, a former Ford auto dealership that had been vacant about four years, has 11 bays and 10 employees.
``We basically pride ourselves on customer service,'' he said. ``It's an image we like to uphold: clean and state of the art.''
Automotive Tire provides a range of automotive services, custom wheels, detailing, and sells Hankook, Michelin, Firestone, Dunlop, Goodyear, Pirelli and other major brands. Tires comprise about 50 percent of the company's sales.