Joe Shrader of Shrader's Tire & Oil figures that as long as his customers are happy with his retread products, he won't need to worry about competing dealerships.
So when it came time to re-evaluate his supply relationship with Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.'s Oliver Rubber Co. unit, Mr. Shrader turned to a retread supplier he'd been eyeing for awhile but hadn't had the opportunity to partner with before-Marangoni Tread North America Inc.
Since switching to the Marangoni Ringtread process four months ago, Mr. Shrader said the product has excited his customers and generated new business for him.
``It has gotten us a lot of accounts that otherwise just wouldn't consider trying our product, primarily accounts that have been very satisfied with Michelin or Bandag or even Goodyear,'' Mr. Shrader told Tire Business. ``Because of its uniqueness, it's opened a lot of doors for us.''
Mr. Shrader, president of Shrader Tire, said the preliminary results from using Marangoni's Ringtread system showed less ride vibration, lower failure rates and casing fatigue and better overall performance than Oliver's system. He said he expects at least a 20-percent increase in sales during this first year with Marangoni.
``That's our goal. We could surprise ourselves,'' he said, declining to disclose his annual sales.
Shrader Tire & Oil is now Marangoni's 11th franchisee. The company operates 10 commercial tire service locations in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. The dealership's lone retread plant is in Blissfield, Mich., and Mr. Shrader declined to disclose its capacity other than to say the Marangoni builder is capable of building 20 tires per hour.
The dealership installed the Marangoni builder and buffer last October and plans to install the retread system supplier's third-generation shearography equipment soon, he said. He would not say how much it cost to convert to Marangoni equipment other than to note, ``They're not cheap, but we feel the investment was worth it.''
Mr. Shrader said he was satisfied with Oliver, but he couldn't help but jump at the opportunity to sign with Marangoni and offer his fleet customers a unique product. Since he had no national account business with Oliver, there was no incentive to continue buying from that company.
Shrader's Tire purchases tread rubber from Associated Rubber Co. and Bandamatic Systems USA Inc., a subsidiary of Hules Banda S.A. de C.V. of Mexico City.
Shrader's sells Michelin, General and Sumitomo brand new truck tires.