AKRON-Tire dealers have found ways to give generously to victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and two in particular have exceeded initial fundraising goals.
When Mark Rhodes set out to do a fundraiser in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the owner of Plaza Tire Service Inc. in Cape Girardeau, Mo., imagined raising $5,000 to $10,000.
Five days after Plaza Tire and Zimmer Radio Group began selling ``United We Stand'' T-shirts, Mr. Rhodes' expectations were surpassed tenfold.
On Oct. 16 a check for $105,591.44 was presented to the American Red Cross' southeast Missouri chapter. The T-shirt promotion-anyone donating $10 or more got one-along with old-fashioned generosity made that total possible.
``It put out a funnel for people,'' Mr. Rhodes said of the idea to incorporate T-shirts into the fundraising project. ``We took any (size) of donation.''
Meanwhile, Goodguys Tire & Auto Repair in Fresno, Calif., has raised $36,977 for the American Red Cross ``Disaster Relief'' and ``Fallen Hero'' funds. The money, donated in conjunction with the Fresno Fire Department, will aid families of the New York firefighters who died trying to save lives in the World Trade Center.
Goodguys President Pete Shubin presented the funds to Red Cross officials Nov. 5, concluding what the dealership called the ``Great American Relief Effort'' conducted at its eight retail locations in October. During that month, the company contributed 10 percent of its retail tire sales to the relief efforts.
Vice President Scott Shubin, Mr. Shubin's son, said his father conceived the fund-raising event while vacationing in Europe and finding himself stranded due to the suspension of all flights to and within the U.S. following the Sept. 11 attacks.
``All of us wanted to do something to help in the relief efforts,'' the younger Mr. Shubin said, ``and this was something we knew we could do.''
He said the results far exceeded the company's initial goal of raising $28,000 for such efforts. Tire buyers responding to the company's fund drive also increased Goodguys' October tire sales by approximately 30 percent compared with those of the previous month.
At Plaza Tire, the project is ongoing, and Mr. Rhodes said it will continue until T-shirts run out or people have nothing left to donate.
Mr. Rhodes said most of the money was raised in the first five days, beginning about a week after the attacks. He added that folks in the Midwest, far from where the attacks occurred, want their support to be known.
Plaza Tire Service has 39 retail stores in southeast Missouri and southern Illinois.
They sell Michelin, Bridgestone, Firestone, Dayton, Centennial, Continental and Yokohama brand tires. The company does some wholesale dealings out of its home office in Cape Girardeau.
Goodguys, founded in 1976, also operates a wholesale distribution center serving customers in the central and northern portions of the state as well as parts of Southern California.