Everything is in place for the more than 2,000 independent Midas muffler franchisees to begin selling tires.
About all that's left is for them to sign on the dotted line and place their opening orders.
During Midas Inc.'s dealer meetings the week of Feb. 11 in Las Vegas, the muffler chain announced to its dealers an agreement to sell TBC Corp.'s private brand tires. A Midas spokesman said the program was very well received by the 1,700 or so independent franchisees in attendance.
``It is now up to the dealers, obviously, to determine their individual involvement in the program,'' he said. ``We've made the product available to them. Hopefully they went home from the convention with the idea that the tire business would be a good business to add to the product line.''
He added that it was far too early to tell how many are likely to do so.
During its annual dealer meeting in early January, TBC announced the agreement to supply tires to Midas muffler shops-a program that at the outset included only company-owned Midas stores.
The idea is for the program to expand to as many as possible of the more than 2,000 Midas franchise outlets nationwide.
A TBC spokesman, who echoed the sentiment regarding the Midas dealers' response, said implementing the program will not happen overnight, but Midas and TBC are ``gearing up the logistical and developmental systems.''
He said the program offers TBC distributors access to a number of stores, but he didn't expect Midas shops to become huge customers right away.
``We're not giving them access to a bonanza in terms of a 350-tire-a-week dealer, but they're not going to be very hard to supply because the program is very simple.''
The program, which will be administered by Midas, is designed to be a ``stocking and replenishing'' program, he said.
Midas franchisees' point-of-sale resources would depend on the level of stock kept and be based on the level of the opening order.
He said a key for implementing the program in Midas stores will be training. Midas dealers, he pointed out, are not tire dealers, but they must be able to inform customers about tires.
``We need to bring them up to speed from a training perspective,'' the TBC spokesman said. ``That takes time. Neither Midas nor we have a phalanx of trainers that can go out and train (across) the country in a few weeks.''
Initially, Memphis, Tenn.-based TBC is providing Midas' company-owned stores with TBC's own private brand tire lines-including Sigma, Multi-Mile and Cordovan-depending on which tires are handled by the TBC distributors that will supply Midas locations.
But eventually the tire wholesaler may give the automotive service retailer its own proprietary Midas brand.
Midas is testing the tire program in about 60 stores nationwide-among them the Cleveland, Chicago and Los Angeles areas, as well as in New England.
In northeast Ohio, where the program was originally offered through 10 company-owned suburban Cleveland Midas locations, independent franchisees already are having tires delivered to their stores. Darrell Hill, president of North Gateway Tire, which serves as the area's TBC distributor, said he has been selling to a few independent Midas locations that were approved by Midas.
The TBC spokesman said his company anticipates having ``several hundred new customers as a result of the program,'' but didn't state a time frame.