It's a long way from Chihuahua, Mexico, to Calgary, Alberta—about 1,500 miles. But 36-year-old Alejandro Amaya has made that journey and opened Tiretek, his first tire dealership, on July 17.
Mr. Amaya is working by himself for now but said he is looking to hire his first employee. His 2,500-sq.-ft. store is located in a mixed residential and light industrial neighborhood on a street with "good traffic."
Tiretek, which has two lifts, offers 15 brands of tires, undercar and front end service and oil changes for cars and light trucks.
Mr. Amaya came to Canada about a year ago with the moral support of family members who live in the Calgary area. He was born in Chihuahua and had nine years experience working in a tire store there.
"I know this business," he said. "Research told us we had a good opportunity here."
He said he's been "amazed" at the positive reaction of suppliers and other business contacts he's made. "I had a good business plan and my experience helped. The suppliers opened their doors to me."
Depending on how well his dealership succeeds, Mr. Amaya and his three brothers may open one or more shops in Mexico.
The former Town Tire in Phillipsburg, N.J., has moved across the Delaware River to Easton, Pa., and changed its name to 10th Street Tire.
Owner and CEO Edward Hancewicz said the primary reason for the move was to increase space in order to grow the business.
He spent three years renovating the 10,000-sq.-ft. structure—including raising the roof to accommodate large trucks—before finally moving in July 1. "I know this facility is going to take off," he said.
The company handles a variety of major and private brands for autos, light trucks and medium trucks, with the Laramie brand comprising about 75 percent of its tire sales.
Town Tire was founded about 30 years ago by Mr. Hancewicz's father, Michael, who operated the company until his death in 1992, when Mr. Hancewicz took over. His mother, Lois, retains a share in the business.
10th Street Tire has two employees and provides retail, commercial and wholesale tire service. It had sales in 1999 of more than $150,000. Mr. Hancewicz said he hopes to double that at the new location.
P. Lebzelter and Son Co. in Lancaster, Pa., celebrated its 100th anniversary as a Goodyear dealership in June with a 30-day sales event capped by a visit by the Goodyear blimp.
Clair McCormick, president and owner of Lebzelter, said the dealership gave away race tickets and other prizes such as free blimp rides during the month. "The Spirit of Goodyear" blimp visited Lancaster June 20-22 to provide rides for customers and local officials such as the mayor, police chief and commissioners, he said. Goodyear personnel also were on hand to honor the company—the tire maker's oldest dealership in the world.
To mark the milestone, Lebzelter also held a private dinner for current and former employees June 21.
Founded by Philip Lebzelter in 1854 as a wagon wheel shop, the dealership began selling Goodyear tires on Jan. 28, 1900, Mr. McCormick said. It operates three outlets—two in Lancaster and one in Millersville, Pa.