Motostar Tire & Auto Products of Manchester has rolled out the Best One Retail Dealer Network concept for New England and New York, expanding the 4-year-old retail partnership program to a six-state region the distributor said is the seventh largest automotive aftermarket region in the nation.
Motostar founder and President Gene Bova said he expects offering the Best One program to expand his business ``dramatically'' by attracting new customers to his wholesale trade as well as by building more business with existing customers.
Motostar, a 10-year-old wholesale distributor of tires, introduced the program-which Mr. Bova said ``offers the strongest retail support program in the industry''-to dealers at the New England Tire and Service Association trade show in Manchester April 11-12. Among the benefits of the Best One program are national account programs on supplies such as wheel weights, valve stems, patch materials and oil, or services like uniforms.
The launch of Best One through Motostar is part of an overall expansion of the program into new areas, according to John Miller, director of retail development for Best One/Zurcher Tire of Monroe Inc.-originator and developer of the Best One program. Broadening the concept to associated dealers could add up to 100 Best One retail points of sale this year, Mr. Miller said.
Motostar operates an 85,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in Manchester and would have the ability to expand by 50,000 square feet more if demand warranted it, Mr. Bova said. Motostar will offer dealers instant access to its inventory through Best One's Dealer Link interface software and also will offer members the Tiremax point-of-sale and accounting package at an ``extremely competitive rate.''
Motostar already has started advertising Best One in selected markets and will offer Best One signage to dealers who sign on.
Mr. Bova started Motostar in 1993 after leaving Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., where he had been a national sales executive. Zurcher Tire has been a minority partner in Motostar since its founding.
Dealers who join the Best One program commit to buying a specified percentage of their tires from Motostar. This is a change in the way Best One operates in the Midwest, where nearly all the Best One dealerships are at least minority owned by the Zurcher family.
Motostar will concentrate on the retail side of the Best One program initially, Mr. Bova said. Best One throughout the Midwest has a strong commercial program, supplemented by retreads supplied by Premier Bandag. Motostar handles a full range of tires, from passenger to OTR, and advertises as many as 24 brands, including six Chinese-made brands.
Separately, Motostar launched a wheel program in May, starting with supplies from four wheel manufacturers, Mr. Bova said.
Best One Tire is considered one of the largest groups of independent tire dealers in the U.S., with more than 170 locations in nine states throughout the Midwest and Mid-south. Its roots lie with Paul Zurcher, who founded Zurcher Tire in Monroe, Ind., as a family business in 1947. The Best One program debuted in 1999/2000.
Best One is considered one of the largest purchasers of Michelin, Bridgestone, Firestone, Continental, General and Yokohama tires in the U.S., as well as one of the largest Bandag retreaders in North America.
Among the larger individual dealerships involved in Best One in the Midwest are Southern Indiana Tire, with 17 stores in Indiana and Illinois; S&S Tire Inc., with 16 retail stores in Kentucky and Tennessee; Indy Tire Centers, having nine stores in Indianapolis; and Monteith Tire and Auto Service Center in Warsaw, Ind., with seven stores.