Award Dunlop Tire Corp. has honored Southern Tire Service Inc. in Louisville, Ky., for 70 years of outstanding service as a Dunlop dealer. Southern Tire was founded in 1920 by Herb H. Feige Sr. and began offering Dunlop tires in 1929.
Southern Tire is a commercial dealership with annual sales in the ``mid-seven figures range,'' according to President Herb Feige Jr.
The Dunlop brand accounts for about 98 percent of Southern Tire's tire sales.
``All in all, we've done very well with them (Dunlop),'' he said.
Southern Tire also operates seven service trucks, offers 24-hour road service and regularly services about 250 to 300 commercial accounts.
Somerset Tire Service Inc. opened a new tire and auto service center on July 19 in Washington Township, N.J. STS has opened six outlets this year and plans to open about nine more locations before the end of the year, according to Mark Reiner, director of marketing.
The Bound Brook, N.J.-based chain now has 66 company-owned locations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York.
STS is in the middle of a three-year expansion campaign with a goal of reaching 100 locations in the northeastern U.S.
S&S Tire Inc., a wholesale and retail/commercial dealership based in Lexington, Ky., has opened a 10,000-sq.-ft. tire service center in Lexington.
The $1.6-million structure, in an upscale area, features a drive-through design and high horizontal windows—an appearance the company said was devised to avoid the usual stereotypes associated with tire stores.
The shop features two John Bean V3D8 alignment machines and a large showroom for displaying the various brands carried by S&S, including Bridgestone, Firestone, Goodyear, Yokohama, General and Michelin.
S&S also carries custom wheels from Ultra, Unique, Weld, Progressive, Detata, Centerline, Delgado, Niche and Elite.
``We're doing things here we haven't done before, like extended weekend hours and customer pickup and drop-off,'' said Riley Kirn, manager of dealer programs. He said the new store is the company's 18th retail location.
The rapidly growing Seattle metropolitan area gained another independent tire dealer on June 1 when Chris Lucas opened Advanced Tire & Auto Care in Puyallup, Wash.
Mr. Lucas and two employees will operate the three-bay facility, which provides undercar service, batteries, oil changes and tires.
Advanced is a member of Michelin North America's Alliance dealer program, and Mr. Lucas said his first-year sales goal is about $400,000. Sales so far have been ``pretty much right in there,'' he said.
Mr. Lucas has about 20 years of experience in the tire business, including 15 with another tire dealership about three blocks from his new store. He said many of his former customers have followed him to the new location.
Bob Sumerel Tire Co. in Cincinnati has hired the marketing communications firm of Freedman, Gibson & White Inc. (FG&W) to handle its media relations and community outreach programs.
Established in 1968, Sumerel Tire has 26 locations, including 21 retail stores. This year, Sumerel's shops have added new auto services including air conditioning, radiator service and oil changes.
The company has hired Cincinnati-based FG&W on a project basis in the past and decided to engage the agency on a full-time basis in July. Craig Sumerel, Sumerel's director of communications, said FG&W ``has the experience and know-how to target the best outlets for bringing awareness to our key audiences.''
FG&W was founded in 1959 and has a variety of regional and national clients in the retail, consumer products and food service industries.
The Volkswagen Beetle was an icon of the '60s and '70s, and many of those who owned one still have fond memories of their ``bugs.''
Last year the German company reincarnated the VW Beetle, and it has become one of the auto industry's success stories.
David Best, co-owner of B&B Tire and Wheel in Rock Hill, S.C., owned a ``bug'' in the early 1970s, so he was thrilled when he won a new VW Beetle in a dealer contest held by Heafner-Itco Tires and Products.
Mr. Best and other dealers were also treated to a four-day cruise to Key West, Fla., and Mexico as a part of Lincolnton, N.C.-based Heafner's ``Get On Board'' dealer incentive program. Other dealers on the cruise also won prizes such as gift certificates and a seven-day cruise.
The company also used the cruise as an opportunity to inform its independent dealers about new products and services.