AKRON (June 1, 2000)—The line dance is over for the private label Roadeo Boots brand.
The Boots strode onto the market several years back with a unique sidewall featuring a stylish cowboy boot, hoping to capitalize not only on booming pickup truck sales, but also the popularity of "country and western" paraphernalia.
Today, the tire is likely in permanent limbo, an "inactive brand" no longer being made by Goodyear.
Art Borgeson, the former president of Grand Island, N.Y.-based Roadeo Inc., which marketed the Boots, gave it his best shot, but said an agreement he had to market the Boots through Arizona´s Discount Tire Co. went sour after the retail dealership told him the tire wasn´t reaching the sales the company hoped to achieve. He, on the other hand, said he was relatively pleased with the numbers.
While Discount Tire had a contract with Goodyear, the brand´s manufacturer, Mr. Borgeson only had a licensing agreement that provided him with a fee for each tire sold.
"It didn´t take off like we expected," he said.
The idea was unique, but the problem apparently lay in gender preference.
"What we discovered was that, because the sidewall was very fancy, women liked the tire but guys didn´t—they thought it was too frilly," Mr. Borgeson said.
"That hurt it. It wasn´t masculine enough, and was considered too feminine for pickup trucks, since men buy the majority of them."
Phase out of the Roadeo Boots line began about two years ago when Goodyear was left with several thousand tires after Discount Tire bowed out. "A lot were sold offshore at deep discounts to liquidate them," he said.
"It was very disappointing, especially when you put all of yourself into it just to get it to market, which is an accomplishment in itself," he continued. "If I had the wherewithal to do it, with the Internet going the way it is, I could probably market the tire myself. But it got to the point where I had to put bread on the table."
So the former Dunlop Tire veteran moved on.
About a year and a half ago, he took a job in Akron as plant manager for Tennecast/Cable Design Technologies Inc., which manufactures tire mold castings and machine models.
That´s kind of full circle for Mr. Borgeson, since he entered the tire industry as a designer.