Dunn Tire Corp. has been selected the exclusive retail tire sponsor for the inaugural season of racing at the Lake Erie Speedway, located outside of Erie, Pa.
Part of the sponsorship includes the Dunn Tire name being brandished on the pace car, which racing fans will have a chance to ride in via a prize drawing.
The 3/8-mile track will host 30 races in the opening season.
``We thought we would use it as a way of creating brand awareness in the market,'' said Pat Logue, director of marketing at Buffalo, N.Y.-based Dunn Tire, which has three of its 29 stores in Erie.
This isn't the first venture into sports sponsorship for Dunn. Dunn Tire Park, home of the Buffalo Bisons, the AAA affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, bears the name of the dealership. Mr. Logue said the race track sponsorship-Dunn Tire is one of several sponsors at the venue-costs significantly less than sponsoring the baseball park.
All Dunn Tire locations sell Michelin, Uniroyal, BFGoodrich, Dunlop, Bridgestone, Goodyear, Kelly, Pirelli and Mastercraft tires, among other brands.
Black's Tire Service is getting bigger in racing and racing to get bigger.
The Whiteville, N.C.-based retail, wholesale and commercial tire dealership recently relocated its corporate offices to an 11-acre site that includes a 60,000-sq.-ft. distribution center and 8,000 square feet of office space.
The new facility has room to expand, said company spokesman Rick Benton II, whose father bought the company in the mid 1980s.
The company was founded by William Crowell Black just as the Great Depression was beginning. Apparently the mother of all economic slumps wasn't too much for the company to overcome. In the 70-plus years since, Black's has grown to 17 facilities.
They include 15 retail/commercial centers and two distribution centers-one commercial and one wholesale-scattered throughout southeast North Carolina and northeast South Carolina.
The company employs ``close to 200,'' Mr. Benton said, about 20 of whom work at the corporate offices. He noted that the new facility created a handful of new jobs.
``We've got a few more positions because it's so much more to handle,'' he said. ``But not a great big impact in terms of that, besides just having a few more hands to handle the merchandise coming in and out...It's a lot better for communication and organization. Those are the key ingredients there.''
The new center is in what had been a Lowe's home improvement store that Black's bought, then gutted to put in its warehouse and office space.
The warehouse stores all of Black's products, including Goodyear, Cooper, Roadmaster, Hallmark, Kelly, Dunlop, Ohtsu, Visa, Falken, Pirelli, Double Coin and Michelin brand tires.
Mr. Benton said the company sells everything from passenger and light truck tires to OTR and farm tires.
``We can now stock a lot more of the farm and OTR stuff, a lot more of the specialty tires,'' he said. ``We were so cramped in there before.''
Black's Tire also sponsors a two-car team in the USAR Pro Cup Series. Races, held in the Southeast, are televised nationally on Speed Channel and Fox Sports. Driven by Jason Sarvis, the company's sponsored Chevrolet Monte Carlo recently finished second in the Bi-Lo 250 at Myrtle Beach Speedway.
The Black's Tire Race Team currently stands second and third in the USAR Hooter's Pro Cup points battle. Mr. Sarvis has moved up to second in the points standings; teammate Hal Goodson sits third.
Tire Kingdom International has added seven stores in the Southeast, culminating with the June 17 opening of its 211th location, in Slidell, La.
The TBC Corp. subsidiary had already opened outlets in Concord and Charlotte, N.C., and Luling and Hammond, La. All four saw their first days of business during the first two weeks of May.
Opening in mid-June were shops in Middleburg, a suburb of Jacksonville, Fla., as well as a location in Jacksonville.
TK stores typically feature eight bays, range in size from 6,600-7,000 square feet and employ between five and seven people, depending on the market, according to Bob Patron, Tire Kingdom's director of new store operations.
Mr. Patron said Tire Kingdom currently has its sights set on locations elsewhere in the Southeast, but he would not be specific as to where they might be.
``We're definitely going to be putting more locations in and filling more geographical markets,'' he said.
The new Tire Kingdom locations, like most outlets in the chain, will sell Michelin, BFGoodrich and Uniroyal brand tires, among several others, including TBC's private labels.