Despite what is typically a slow time of year, Brad Van Zant, 38, and his brother Steve, 36, opened a Big O store Nov. 20 in Princeton, Ind.—and business has been good.
"The Big O corporate office said we're doing better than expected," Brad Van Zant said.
He formerly worked as an auto service manager at a Sears, Roebuck and Co. store, and as a salesman for Allied Discount Tires. His brother had been a mechanic in the U.S. Army.Brad spotted the newly built, vacant six-bay Big O store last year and thought it would be a good opportunity to get back into the automotive service industry.
In addition to drawing customers from Princeton's 12,000 residents, the brothers said they hope to garner a lot of business from a 6,000-employee Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America Inc. assembly plant about five miles away.
PDK Inc., the Merrillville, Ind.-based distributor and marketer of custom wheels and auto accessories, has opened a 22,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in Indianapolis.
The facility will serve dealers in southern Indiana, Ohio, southern Illinois and the St. Louis and Louisville, Ky., metro markets.
PDK's facility will stock 13 different lines of wheels, Vogue and Toyo tires and other automotive accessories. Mounting and balancing equipment also is available for on-site assembly of tire-wheel packages.
A four-person staff and fleet of three trucks provides daily delivery to the Indianapolis area and twice-weekly delivery to the Fort Wayne, Ind., Dayton, Ohio, and Louisville areas. Todd Robinson, PDK sales manager, said the building once housed a Delco engine parts distribution operation. PDK plans to remodel the office area and the front of the building in the spring.
An early morning fire Dec. 8 destroyed one of two buildings occupied by Poor Freddie's Tire Center in Jamaica, N.Y.
The blaze started at about 6 a.m., before the store opened, in a tire storage area. Firefighters took nearly three hours to extinguish the fire. No one was injured.
The fire department listed the cause of the blaze as "accidental," owner Freddie Dill said, but officials told him it may have been ignited by a faulty light fixture.
The destroyed building—the company's main facility—was insured, Mr. Dill said, though he couldn't provide a damage estimate.
The 25-year-old dealership has moved its operation across the street to another building it owns and is still operating, he said, "but not up to our usual standards."
Business is off about 80 percent since the fire, but Mr. Dill expects to regain most of his customers once a new building is completed on the same site within about six months.
Service Tire Truck Centers of Bethlehem, Pa., has opened a 40,000-sq.-ft. commercial tire center and Bandag retread plant in Vineland, N.J.
The new facility has 36 employees and replaces a commercial tire center in Vineland and an older retread plant in Rio Grande, N.J.
About 300 customers, suppliers and associates attended the grand opening for the facility Nov. 8.
The retread plant is equipped with new Bandag retreading equipment, including the Insight Casing Analyzer, and has a daily capacity of about 220 tires. The truck service area features new Hunter Engineering Co. alignment equipment.
STTC has 17 commercial locations in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland.
The Tire One marketing program, founded in 1995 by Royal Tire Inc. of St. Cloud, Minn., has reached a milestone: On Dec. 20, Savemore Automotive of Rosemount, Minn., became the 200th dealership to join the Tire One program.
"We're very excited and very proud," said Rick Lang, consumer division manager of Royal Tire. Reaching that number, he added, "almost demands respect."
Mr. Lang noted Tire One met its goal of signing up 200 members just a few days before the end-of-year target date.
"We're proud of our guys," he said, "and having the goal accomplished shows the strength of Tire One."
In mid-February, Tire One will hold its annual dealer meeting and will try to unite member dealers through additional promotional activities and improved purchasing power from tire manufacturers, he said.