MIAMI-Martino Tire in Miami closed two underperforming retail stores earlier this year, dropping its store count to 16.
But the company has plans to make a retail push this year and next, with one new store opening in October, two more under construction and two acquisitions of three stores each under consideration.
To coordinate the renewed retail push, Martino Tire CEO Andy Martino has hired Terry Stewart, a 33-year veteran of Goodyear's sales force, as his general manager of retail operations.
Martino Tire is in the process of revamping its store network, investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in new equipment and increasing the training requirements for all its service technicians, said Mr. Stewart, who joined Martino a month after retiring from Goodyear.
The firm has created a new look, featuring a stylized blue and gold ``M'' for its stores. From an advertising point of view, the company will attempt to position itself as a full-service provider rather than emphasize price, Mr. Stewart said. The dealership will feature the Goodyear, Dunlop and Kelly brands in its ads.
The company declined to identify the acquisition candidates, other than to say they're in the firm's existing market scope in south Florida. The stores under construction are in Broward and Dade counties, Mr. Martino said.
Retail represented only 23 percent of Martino Tire's $67.2 million in sales last year, Mr. Martino said, with automotive service representing 60 percent of the $15.8 million in retail sales.
The firm's wholesale business includes an international division with customers throughout Latin America and the Caribbean basin.
The company, founded in 1959, is Goodyear's largest dealership in south Florida. The chain, which features Goodyear's Gemini auto service program, also sells Cooper, Falken, Hallmark and Kumho tires.