AKRON (Oct. 9, 2002)—Goodyear has taken over the assets of financially ailing Winston Tire Co. and plans to convert 44 of the chain's 97 locations into Just Tires outlets and sell the rest to existing independent Goodyear dealers.
Winston Tire, an independent mainstay in California for 40 years, has been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since Jan. 15 after Performance Management Inc., Winston's owner since May 2001, encountered cash flow problems.
Goodyear, manufacturer of the Winston private brand tire line and one of the company's largest suppliers, was one of Winston's biggest creditors, along with American Tire Distributors (formerly Heafner Tire Group), which had sold Winston to Performance Management.
Goodyear filed a petition recently in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court´s Central District of California, Los Angeles Division, to effect an asset purchase of Winston Tire, based on accumulated debts, a Goodyear spokesman said. Goodyear now is managing Winston's remaining 97 stores.
Financial details were not disclosed.
At the time of the filing, Winston had 105 stores, but closed eight at about the same time, leaving the 97 still in operation, the spokesman said. Goodyear will retain 44 stores and convert them to Just Tires outlets, to go with 37 existing stores in California, in the Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Jose metro areas.
Goodyear did not specify which Winston Tire stores it intends to keep.
Goodyear already is negotiating with several of its independent retailers in California regarding the other 53 stores, and could complete their sale by November, the spokesman said.
Just Tires stores concentrate on tires and tire-related services. Besides the Goodyear brands—Goodyear, Dunlop and Republic—Just Tires outlets sell Michelin, BFGoodrich, Pirelli and Continental brand tires.
Goodyear started Just Tires in Chicago in 1991. The network now comprises 98 locations, in the Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore/Washington D.C., Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and California metro areas already identified.