Opening In January, Skowhegan Tire Center in Skowhegan, Maine, opened for business. Owner Todd Savage said it took about four months to remodel a former restaurant into a 6,800-sq.-ft., six-bay facility.
Mr. Savage said there were no problems with converting the building into a retail/commercial tire dealership that also sells custom wheels.
Skowhegan Tire, which has four employees, carries most major brands. Mr. Savage expects sales to top $1 million in the first year of operation.
Before going out on his own, Mr. Savage managed a Tire Warehouse Central dealership. ``I like it a lot more working for myself,'' he said.
Southern Rubber Co. in Birmingham, Ala., is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.
``We're in our third generation and we're fortunate to have that kind of continuity,'' said CEO Richard Abernethy.
His grandfather, John P. Abernethy Sr., founded the company in 1939 as Alabama's first wholesale tire distributor. After Richard's father, John P. Abernethy Jr., took over the reins in the early 1970s, Richard and his brother, John P. Abernethy III, joined the firm.
Southern Rubber has six retail stores, four warehouses, two commercial truck outlets and an Oliver retread plant that produces 136 tires a day. Its annual sales approach $60 million.
Mr. Abernethy said about 70 percent of sales come from wholesale, with 20 percent commercial and the remainder retail.
The company, an American Car Care Centers distributor member, emphasizes building positive relationships with customers based on credibility. ``There's no such thing as a little bit of integrity,'' he said.
For the second year, Tires Plus Groupe and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Iowa teamed up to take disadvantaged children to a ballgame.
On July 16, 400 children saw the Iowa Cubs host the Albuquerque, N.M., Dukes in a Pacific Coast League game at Sec Taylor Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.
Burnsville, Minn.-based Tires Plus provided tickets to the game, vouchers for hot dogs and soft drinks, and also gave away souvenirs of its mascot, ``Tuffy the Tire.''
Mueller Tire and Brake of Cleveland will grow to 15 locations after opening two new stores in August:a seven-bay facility in Medina, Ohio, and a 12-bay, 14,000-sq.-ft. outlet in the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood.
Vice President Scott Mueller said the Lakewood site, formerly an auto dealership, is larger than most of Mueller's shops. But ``it was a real estate opportunity that became available to us,'' he added.
Mr. Mueller said the dealership plans to add three more stores, all in the Cleveland area, by year's end.