ROANOKE, Va.-The year 2000 marked a change of ownership for White Tire Distributors Inc. of Roanoke, Va.
Founder David White sold the 28-year-old, largely commercial tire dealership to longtime employees Larry D. DeHaven and Don M. Aldridge and retired to Naples, Fla.
Mr. DeHaven, formerly the company's executive vice president, now is majority owner and president. Mr. Aldridge is vice president. Both men have been with the company about 20 years.
The Roanoke-based dealership operates 11 commercial and three combination commercial/retail outlets, five Bandag retreading plants and three retail stores-all flying the White Tire banner.
White Tire in 2000 reported total sales of $47.5 million of which commercial contributed $33.25 million-ranking it 15th among North America's largest independent commercial tire dealerships in terms of sales. Retreading contributed another $11.9 million to the company's overall sales, Mr. DeHaven said.
The company employs 275, including 220 in its commercial tire and retreading operations. It fields 65 service trucks and operates retread plants in Roanoke and Richmond, Va.; Greenville, S.C.; Kingsport, Tenn., and Charleston, W.Va. A former retread plant in Newport News, Va., was closed during 2000 and its operations consolidated into those of the company's ``mega shop'' in Richmond, he said.
White Tire produces an average of 550 medium truck retreads daily and consumed approximately 3.25 million pounds of rubber in 2000-ranking it 21st among the continent's largest truck tire retreaders.
Mr. DeHaven said plans call for adding retail stores and ``possibly one Bandag acquisition'' in the near future. The company also is exploring a couple of commercial expansion possibilities. Most likely such expansions will take place ``within the geography we're pretty much in,'' he said.
Mr. DeHaven said the dealership has had considerable success with its three retail stores and is looking to expand those operations as one means of offsetting the shrinking profit margins in the commercial tire business.
Despite softening demand among commercial fleet customers at large, White Tire's volume was up in January and February, Mr. DeHaven said. Most of this is new business resulting from what he described as increased effort in the form of ``a lot of sales calls, a lot of people on the street and a lot of shakeups that we're trying.''
The company is projecting total sales of $51 million in 2001.