Expansions Tire Warehouse Central Inc. (TWC) held a May 20 grand opening for a 7,000-sq.-ft. store in Auburn, Maine—the 53rd location and 29th company-owned outlet for the Keene, N.H.-based dealership.
The company operates stores in five New England states and New York, offers major and private brand tires, custom wheels and auto parts and service, and changes about 12,000 tires each week. TWC had estimated sales of $42 million in 1999.
TWC has broken ground in Orange, Mass., for another location, expected to open in late August.
On May 1, Flamborough, Ontario-based Beverly Group Inc., which does business as Beverly Tire & Auto, purchased French's Automotive, a retail and commercial tire center in Burlington, Ontario.
The location will be operated in partnership with Paul Couture, who formerly managed a Canadian Tire Inc. store in Burlington.
The buyout continues Beverly's expansion along Highway 401, Ontario's major east-west thoroughfare. Goodyear Canada Inc. has a 49-percent stake in the company, which now has 26 outlets and a retread plant.
A couple of long-time Big O Tires Inc. dealers were inducted into the company's Hall of Fame during its annual dealer meeting, held in February at Caesar's Palace Hotel in Las Vegas.
Grant Gunnell began his tire career in 1943 and eventually operated a retread plant in Mesa, Ariz., that supplied tires to the region's OK Tire stores—the precursors to Big O. In 1966 he moved to Richmond, Calif., and purchased a Big O outlet.
Since then, Mr. Gunnell has helped other owner/operators open nine Big O stores in northern California. He also has served as that area's group chairman and is a former member of the Big O board.
Noal Long began his tire business career in 1953 when he purchased an O.K. Tire store in Colton, Calif., for $1,500. Nine years later he joined the group of dealers that founded Big O.
Eventually, Mr. Long became an area director for Big O and helped many others open Big O stores.
Superior Tire Service in Salem, Ore., will relocate its headquarters and truck service operation to a new site in the city July 31.
Founder and owner Jim Ryan said the new facility will provide easier access to customers and more space for the company's 50 employees.
Earlier this year, the commercial dealership switched from Bandag to the Michelin Retread Technologies Inc. system and began producing retreaded tires at the new plant, which has a daily capacity of 260 tires.
Gerald's Tires & Brakes, a Charleston, S.C.-based retail dealership, is the subject of the first chapter of a book due out in October called Exceptional Customer Service.
Written by David McNair, Bill Perry and Lisa Ford, the book suggests ways managers and employees can improve customer service and cites exemplary businesses from various industries. Mr. McNair and Ms. Ford are both consultants specializing in employee/customer relations while Mr. Perry writes for the Charleston Regional Business Journal.
Gerald's is one of two automotive service firms featured in the book. The dealership unexpectedly became the first entry following a visit Mr. McNair had with owner Bill Watts after he thought his research for the book was completed.
When Mr. McNair sat down to write, he found he had "great stuff" about Gerald's to include. "What started out as a story I was going to drop into a chapter became the full first chapter of the book," he said.
Mr. McNair attributed the dealership's success to its performance in four key areas: recruitment, training, promotion and measuring customer satisfaction. He recalled how Mr. Watts gave him customer feedback cards just delivered to his mailbasket, and each card rated Gerald's service at 10—the highest ranking.
Exceptional Customer Service will be published by Adams Media in Boston and is expected to cost around $15, Mr. McNair said.