DALLAS-From his down-home country accent to the cars for which he sells tires, Wallace Wade is an American classic through and through. Embarking on his 25th year in business this month, Mr. Wade is hoping to upgrade that classic status to a world-wide venture.
Founder and owner of Wallace W. Wade Specialty Tires and Marketing Solutions, Mr. Wade has taken his wares overseas. The company, which specializes in tires for vintage and antique cars, trucks, tractors and military vehicles, as well as lawn and turf vehicles, does business in 55 countries. Its latest venture is a marketing plan designed to sell vintage products in the Far East.
A new promotion enables Japanese antique car collectors to have four tires delivered to the Tokyo International Airport for a $225 freight charge, what Mr. Wade deemed one-third as expensive as having them shipped directly. He hopes to emerge soon in the Hong Kong and China markets as a supplier for Rolls Royce tires.
``We sell all around (the world), and we had never been able to do any business in those countries,'' Mr. Wade said. ``The U.S. consulate and embassy helped us write up some ads in those countries.''
Mr. Wade said there is a good market overseas for his products for no other reason than collectors are looking to restore old Buicks and Cadillacs and need the tires to have the ``Made in U.S.A.'' label, which must be authentic.
In the midst of trying to acquire new business overseas, the Specialty Equipment Market Association/International Tire Expo, scheduled for Oct. 30-Nov. 2 in Las Vegas, would have been prime time for Mr. Wade to cultivate business. However, with the events of Sept. 11 having curtailed travel, he said many of his overseas customers are not planning on attending, and Mr. Wade himself isn't sure whether he will still go.
But he's endured similar challenges before and has escaped unscathed. Faced with a slumping economy in the '80s, Mr. Wade turned his business from a wholesaler into the specialty supplier it is today. It's provided him with quite a windfall in the years hence.
He has since added marketing supplies to his business, including pennants, flags and sundry point-of-sale products.
``We had people that asked us about buying (marketing items). We found a place to make them and started selling them. It's at least half our business now,'' he said.
Wallace W. Wade Specialty Tires and Marketing Solutions has six full-time employees in addition to Mr. Wade and his wife, Socorro. The company sits in a 10,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in Dallas. Most of Mr. Wade's products can be seen in his 58-page catalog of products.