Further increasing its presence in the Northeast Ohio market, Tire Kingdom Inc. has opened two more locations in the greater Cleveland area.
The company opened a store in Streetsboro, southeast of the city, in late June, then opened another in Brook Park on the southwest side a month later.
In addition, the TBC Corp. subsidiary opened outlets in Denham Springs, La., and Statesville, N.C., to bring the retailer's nationwide store count to 215.
The Brook Park location is the second Tire Kingdom store in Northeast Ohio that is not part of the company's purchase of Cleveland-based Mueller Tire & Brake earlier this year.
TKI took over a former North Gateway Tire location in Streetsboro in June from Batesville, Miss.-based Dunlap & Kyle Co. Inc., which uses the Gateway name for its retail stores.
Opened June 27, the 11,500-sq.-ft. Streetsboro location has nine bays and employs nine (two service managers, two mechanics, five tire technicians), with plans for two more workers to be added later.
Greg Butler, who managed TKI's Strongsville, Ohio, location before switching to Streetsboro upon that store's opening, said the lack of association with Mueller may make it a little more difficult to get the ball rolling.
``It might,'' he said. ``Mueller has a good name. North Gateway has a good name, too.''
Mr. Butler said his store has had a mix of North Gateway customers, Mueller customers and those new to Tire Kingdom.
``We have a good customer base,'' he said. ``People have even come in that are Tire Kingdom customers, who maybe moved up from Florida. Most of them just want to know if their warranties are still good, or what to do if they have any problems with anything.''
Mr. Butler said Tire Kingdom is honoring all of the former companies' warranties.
Tire Kingdom has added more than 30 locations since the beginning of 2002. The biggest boost came with the March acquisition of the 19 Cleveland- and Columbus, Ohio-area Mueller Tire outlets.
The new stores, according to TKI personnel, average 6,600 square feet, eight bays and six to eight employees.
They sell Michelin, BFGoodrich and Uniroyal brand tires, among several others, including TBC's private labels.
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Tire Warehouse Central has opened its 51st location and Nos. 52-54 are on the way.
The June 29 opening of a Clinton, Mass., outlet-a 5,000-sq.-ft. warehouse-style store-will be followed with openings soon in Ludlow and North Adams, Mass., along with Exeter, N.H.
All three locations will be identical in size and shape, will feature six bays and employ four to five for now, with increased rosters as seasonal conditions dictate, a company spokeswoman said.
Tire Warehouse Central President Bob Dabrowski said an additional two, three or possibly more stores could be launched by year-end.
Based in Keene, N.H., Tire Warehouse retails Goodyear, Michelin, BFGoodrich, Uniroyal, Continental, General, Yokohoma, Mohawk, Riken and Hoosier brand tires. Custom wheels, foreign and domestic car parts and accessories are also available.
The company dabbles a little bit in wholesaling, Mr. Dabrowski said, selling to fleets and garages, but does not involve itself in the automotive service business.
``We have different priorities,'' he said. ``We're in the tire business. We don't repair cars.''
The Clinton store, Tire Warehouse's 12th in Massachusetts, is a franchised location operated by Sandeep Sidhu.