FARMINGDALE, N.Y.-Looking to expand its retread business, Ranger Tires has opened a retread plant in partnership with Ronkonkoma, N.Y.-based Barnwell House of Tires, a Goodyear Truckwise dealership.
Ranger Tires-also known as J.A.R. Rubber Corp.-brought the retread shop, located in West Babylon, N.Y., on-line in mid-January. The plant uses Goodyear's Next-Tred system and retreads 125 tires per day, according to Vice President John D. Roefs.
Mr. Roefs said Farmingdale-based Ranger Tires formed a 50/50 joint venture on the retread shop with Barnwell late last year because it was the easiest way to gain retreading business in the Northeast and work with a commercial dealership that handles national accounts. The venture gives Ranger Tires a foothold in the commercial business and provides Barnwell a stake in retreading, which it never had offered to fleets before.
``I've always serviced independent tire dealers, but now that I'm real close with one, I think I'm getting a better understanding of the problems they encounter, too,'' Mr. Roefs told Tire Business. ``I think it's a good thing for both of us.''
The two firms shared in the costs of opening the plant and in employees. Ranger Tires brought in the equipment and trained Barnwell's workers in retreading, Mr. Roefs said.
The goal is to get production at the West Babylon facility up to 200 retreaded tires per day-``that's what I'm gunning for,'' he said, noting that Ranger Tires would consider opening future joint venture retread shops with Barnwell, which operates two commercial locations and 12 service trucks.
Ranger Tires also operates two retread plants in Farmingdale that use the Marangoni Ringtread, Teknor Apex and Hawkinson systems. Together, those facilities retreaded 220 units per day in 2000. The company plans to double production in these facilities, Mr. Roefs said, so that by the end of 2001 all three of its shops will retread approximately 450 tires per day.
``It looks like we're going to get there pretty fast because of this Goodyear (joint venture),'' he said. ``We're getting a lot of business.''
The retreader also had used the Hercules system but dropped it last year in favor of Next-Tred, both because of perceived quality and because most of its customers demand either Goodyear or Marangoni treads, Mr. Roefs explained. He noted that the company's traditional business is flat, but the Goodyear plant it shares with Barnwell is garnering new business so far.
Ranger Tires was one of Marangoni's first retread franchisees, and that process ``is definitely getting us into places that we couldn't go before,'' he said. ``Basically, when we come in with the Marangoni (process), we're taking business from Bandag, which we had a hard time doing before.''
All of Ranger Tires' retread operations use a precure system because Mr. Roefs isn't sold on mold cure as a viable option in his market. He finds precure to be an easier method to use since it doesn't require precise measurements like mold cure does, and precure is easier to sell in his market.
``A lot of people don't want to touch a mold cure tire because they remember from 20-30 years ago how people who made a lot of molded tires didn't do such a hot job in this area,'' he said. ``Right away, when you mention mold cure, they call them hot caps and people throw their hands up and they want to run the other way.''
Mr. Roefs predicted the retread industry in the Northeast will pick up in 2001 because the economy is slowing, and fewer fleets are buying new trucks. He observed that many trucks fleets purchased during the mid-1990s will now need retreads, and fleet operators are trying to save money for rising fuel prices.
Ranger Tires, owned by the Roefs family for nearly 50 years, posted $4.2 million in sales in 2000. Besides its retread shops, the firm also operates two warehouses in Farmingdale.