Evans Tire and Auto in Richmond, Ky., recently joined up with the Big O Tires Inc. organization, becoming the first Big O franchise in Richmond.
Co-owners Mike Harris and David Evans noticed that many of their regular customers bought Big O-brand tires instead of the brands their store sold.
When Mr. Harris asked them why, he was told it was the Big O warranty. So he researched the warranty and also noticed in a magazine that Big O was looking for dealers in his area. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.
The five-bay store, located 4-5 miles from I-75, offers most types of automotive service except engine and transmission work.
To promote the launch of American Car Care Centers (ACCC) Inc.'s Uniroyal American Gold Tire, a group of New England tire dealers kicked off a major cable television campaign Nov. 15.
The dealers, who comprise an ACCC advisory council, are running 5,000 TV spots across the New England region, according to Ben Kravitz, principal of Brockton, Mass.-based Summit Tires, which does business as Tire Dealers Warehouse.
Mr. Kravitz serves as the distributor for the council, which represents 28 locations.
Bob Katz, president of Nu-Tread Tire Co Inc. in East Boston, Mass., and council chairman, said the group decided to time the promotion with the Christmas shopping season since ACCC is giving away custom-made BMX bikes to customers who buy four American Gold tires.
The New England promotion is running for two and one-half to three weeks, Mr. Kravitz said.
Bill and Randy Carmichael of Glenn's Tire & Recapping Service Inc. in Melbourne, Fla., know that a 50th anniversary is not an occasion that should come and go quietly, particularly when tire businesses don't often survive under the same ownership for that long.
So the brothers asked Bridgestone/Firestone if they could rent a Bigfoot 4x4 monster truck, which the tire maker leases during racing's off-season.
BFS obliged, and the Carmichaels brought in the truck during the dealership's ``customer appreciation days'' promotion, held Oct. 23-26 in honor of the 50-year milestone.
The two-store dealership, with locations in Melbourne and Cocoa, Fla., was founded in 1952 by the Carmichaels' father, Glenn.
The company employs 23 and posted about $3.3 million in sales last year, 60 percent of which came from the commercial tire and retreading business and the remainder from retail sales, according to Bill Carmichael, Glenn's Tire president.
He and Randy, who is vice president, have operated Glenn's Tire since their father's retirement in 1989.
In all, 175 people came to the Cocoa store and 225 to Melbourne to register for Glenn's Tire's drawings and raffles, Mr. Carmichael said. One drawing was for a 5-horsepower go-kart replica of the Bigfoot monster truck.
At the Melbourne location, the real Bigfoot crushed a car-not owned by any customer-in the dealership's parking lot.
``That was a big crowd pleaser,'' he said of Bigfoot. Mr. Carmichael, who handles BFS's Dayton associate brand, explained that the tire maker allows its dealers to borrow the Bigfoot truck for a nominal fee.
The dealership also carries Firestone and Michelin and is a Bridgestone distributor of everything from passenger to medium truck tires, as well as lawnmower, wheelbarrow, ATV, golf cart and off-the-road tires, Mr. Carmichael said.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Glenn's Tire sold Fiske tires and was one of the first Florida dealerships to sign with Michelin to be a direct franchise distributor, he noted. Once an Oliver retreader, Glenn's Tire is now a Bandag franchisee.
The dealership actually retreaded its first tire on Thanksgiving Day in 1952 at the Melbourne location.
But Mr. Carmichael said he probably won't open the shop to do any retreading this coming Thanksgiving.
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Zach's Tire Co. in Irving, Texas, recently celebrated its 30th anniversary by holding a month-long giveaway of commemorative pins and teddy bears to customers.
The 10-bay store-founded by Rudy Zacharias, a former Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. employee-posts more than $1 million in annual sales.
The company employs eight-including Mr. Zacharias and his wife, Tjuana, who serves as office and credit manager.
Mr. Zacharias told Tire Business he bought his store from a rubber company he did not disclose, after working 10 years for Firestone as a service manager, a territory representative and as a store manager.
He said the unnamed company gave him a line of credit he could afford and $30,000 worth of free inventory for two years, and ``we've just been going since then.''
To this day, Mr. Zacharias said Zach's Tire doesn't advertise, doesn't charge for valve stems, fixes flats for free and will perform free tire rotations and balancing. As a result, he said the dealership has ``very loyal'' customers.
``We're simple,'' he said. ``I'm not into computers and all that. We still handwrite our tickets, and we still know our customers' names.''
Seventy percent of Zach's Tire's sales are derived from passenger and light truck tires; 30 percent is from automotive service.
The company offers all major tire brands, as Mr. Zacharias has a preference for tires over automotive service.
``I'm a tire dealer,'' he said. ``I don't want a garage with motor tuneups and air conditioners and all that.''