Dakota-K Auto Repair and Tire Center in Arlington Heights, Ill., has won the National Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics from the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
The award was presented to Dakota-K President Neil Koebernick on Sept. 25 at BBB's annual assembly in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Dakota-K previously had won the Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics from the Greater Chicago BBB in 1998 and was a finalist in last year's national competition. "We really didn't expect it," said Joan Koebernick, co-owner of the dealership. "It was really exciting."
The Koebernicks founded the dealership in 1974 and added a second location in 1998. Dakota-K offers Cooper tires, but relies on auto repair service for most of its revenue.
The award citation from BBB applauded Dakota-K's customer service policies and its relationships with vendors. BBB also lauded the dealership's employee training and benefits and noted that Mrs. Koebernick had written a series of columns on business ethics, which appeared in Tire Business.
Heafner Tire Group Inc. has opened an 82,000-sq.-ft. distribution center in San Diego.
The facility operates in Heafner's Western Division as part of Competition Parts Warehouse. It stocks tires, wheels, tire equipment and other auto parts and accessories.
The warehouse opened in July and now is fully operational, having reached $1 million in monthly shipments in September.
Heafner now has 11 California distribution centers with 1.1 million square feet of storage space.
The company said it is exploring the possibility of opening additional distribution centers in Minneapolis, Dallas and Des Moines, Iowa.
Terry's Tire Town Inc. in Alliance, Ohio, is renovating a 58,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in Baltimore that is expected to be fully operational Nov. 1.
Terry's is a member distributor for American Car Care Centers Inc. and will provide service to about 200 ACCC-affiliated dealers in Maryland, Delaware and the Tidewater area of Virginia from the new facility.
When Heafner Tire Group Inc. bought American Tire Distributors, a unit of Merchant's Inc., that left a void in ACCC's coverage of the Middle Atlantic states. Alliance-based Terry's, which has a 110,000-sq.-ft. facility in Ohio, took on the territory.
"In order to service that market, we felt we needed a warehouse there," said Will Tolerton, vice president at Terry's. The new facility will have 25 employees.
"We're excited about the new territory," he added, "and there is a tremendous opportunity there."
A retired railroad worker has won a 2000 Chevrolet Silverado and a Ranger fishing boat as the grand prize in Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc.'s "Way to Go" sweepstakes. Roy Brawner entered the contest at Service Center Plus in Clarinda, Iowa.
Kumho said it received more than 50,000 entries during the promotion, which took place in May. In addition, 2,000 customers received a free Igloo cooler for purchasing a set of Kumho tires during the promotion, including Mr. Brawner.
"To have the winner of a national contest like this be one of our customers is just about the best publicity we can think of," said Service Center's owner, Marvin Britt.
Merchant's Tire & Auto Centers has opened two more locations in North Carolina, giving the Manassas, Va.-based dealership a total of 118 retail and five commercial tire stores.
Merchant's held a ribbon cutting ceremony Oct. 17 at the former Joe Greene Tire dealership in Cary, N.C., to mark a month-long grand opening celebration at that store as a Merchant's location. Mr. Greene, will continue to manage the Cary store.
Merchant's now has 13 outlets in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area.
On Oct. 18, Merchant's began another month-long grand opening celebration to mark the opening of a new outlet in Greensboro, N.C. This Merchant's location will share a former Western Auto store location with an Advance Auto Parts store.
This new store will be the firm's 12th location in the "Triad" area of North Carolina—Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point.
Merchant's has opened nine stores this year and plans to double its number of outlets in the next few years.