Cleveland-based Mueller Tire & Brake Inc. has ventured a couple hours down the interstate to the state's capital, opening four stores in the Greater Columbus, Ohio, area since the first of the year.
The openings bring to 19 Mueller's total outlets-the great majority of them in northeast Ohio.
The new locations are in Reynoldsburg, east of Columbus; in the Polaris area north of the city; in the Dublin area northeast of the city; and a downtown Columbus location in a refurbished 100-year-old building. The other three are in brand-new stand-alone Mueller buildings.
``We believe there is an opportunity for a service-oriented retailer to be in Columbus,'' said Mueller CEO Joe Maher. ``We did some fairly extensive marketing studies. They're all very accessible. Having growth and being a part of growth is somewhat significant.''
Each Columbus-area Mueller outlet is between 10,000 and 11,000 square feet with 10 bays and between 15 and 20 employees, according to a company spokesman.
Mueller sells Michelin, BFGoodrich and Uniroyal tires, along with Goodyear, Continental, Pirelli, Firestone, Bridgestone, General, Cavalier, Centennial and Star. Services included at the new outlets are tires, wheels, alignments, brakes, suspension work, ride control and oil changes.
Somerset Tire Services Inc. (STS), based in Bound Brook, N.J., has strengthened its presence in the Delaware Valley with the addition of a store in Royersford, Pa.
It is the second STS store in Montgomery County, the company's seventh in the valley and 78th overall.
The new state-of-the-art outlet has six bays. Once staffing is completed the store will have five employees.
As with all STS locations, the store will sell primarily Continental, Firestone, Michelin and Toyo tires.
``Business has gotten off to a very good start,'' a company spokesman said. ``And we expect great results out of this new state-of-the-art facility.''
Part of the early success was attributed to the store's location and an overall lack of competition in the area.
Dunn Tire Corp. of Buffalo, N.Y., opened its 29th store in late July.
The four-bay operation, located in the suburb of Canandaigua, is home to two managers, three full-time tire changers and a full-time salesperson.
``Everything is going pretty well for the first month,'' said Manager Tim Olsen, who recently joined Dunn to run the new store. ``(It's) about what we expected.''
All Dunn locations sell Michelin, Uniroyal, BFGoodrich, Dunlop, Bridgestone, Goodyear, Kelly, Pirelli and Mastercraft tires, among other brands.
Dunn Tire-home to what the company refers to as the ``Dunn Deal''-has locations in western and central New York as well as in northern Pennsylvania.