LAS VEGAS—Two retread industry veterans and a partner think they've got a better idea when it comes to supplying tread rubber. The three have formed Treadrubber Corp., based in Ocoee, Fla., to supply premium tread rubber products (precure and mold cure) and tire repair materials at competitive prices.
Their target is the estimated 500 independent retreaders in the U.S.
"We think the timing is good," said Mike Evans, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Treadrubber. "There's been a decrease in the number of suppliers to independent retreaders."
The company, which was formed in August, is not making its own tread rubber but has secured a supply agreement with Latin America's largest tire repair and retreading supply manufacturer, Borrachas Vipal S.A., based in Novaprata, Brazil.
Mr. Evans and partners, Clayton Murphy, vice president of sales and a former regional sales manager with Hercules Tire & Rubber Co., and Arthur Louv, an attorney who serves as Treadrubber's president and CEO, began talking with Vipal earlier this year about supplying the new firm.
"We began experimenting with the rubber in our own operations," said Mr. Evans, referring to Evans Tires and Treads Inc., a commercial truck tire dealership and retreader he owns in Ocoee. "We found we had a great opportunity here to market this proven process."
Mr. Murphy also is vice president of sales for Evans Tire, in addition to his role at Treadrubber.
The company is already off to a fast start, opening 10 accounts in the first month of sales.
Yet it's not your average tread rubber supplier, Mr. Evans said. "What you have are retreaders selling to retreaders. We intend to be the low-cost leader in the market."
Treadrubber has negotiated what Mr. Murphy called "favorable pricing" with Vipal, allowing the company to provide a savings to retreaders to help them be more profitable.
Another advantage is Treadrubber's low overhead. Vipal will ship products from its Miami warehouse, where it currently has 1.5 million pounds of tread rubber available.
"The concept here is that we don't need infrastructure," Mr. Evans said. "We're distributors."
And the price savings could be significant.
Small retreaders "could easily save 25 percent on our tread rubber, precure and strip, camelback and cushion," Mr. Evans said, while buyers of tire repair products could save more than 30 percent.
To help market its offerings and better serve customers, the firm has developed a Web site—www.treadrubber.com—where dealers can view Vipal's line of tread products, repair materials and related offerings.
Eventually, customers will be able to check inventory availability and order online.
"We think there is a huge potential for electronic sales of tread rubber, and we think we're going to be one of the first to get out of the box to develop e-business for tread rubber," said Mr. Evans, who also owns a computer company, Tradeweb Inc., that developed Treadrubber's site.
"We'll be able to bring considerable expertise to bear," he added.
The Web site also could attract business worldwide, since Vipal has given Treadrubber the right to sell globally through its Web site.
To provide further savings, Treadrubber is looking to form a co-op of retreaders and extend them a price savings through volume purchases.
While details are incomplete, co-op members also would have access to technical support and be able to interact online with other retreaders and tread rubber suppliers over the Internet, Mr. Evans said.
Treadrubber currently is looking for sales reps throughout the U.S. to market its products.
"We have interesting opportunities for an independent sales force," Mr. Evans said.