Several tire dealers won accolades from their local newspapers for being voted the ``best of the best'' by readers.
In Sumter, S.C., Ace Parker Tire Inc. won three awards: best tire dealer, best auto repair shop and best place for an oil change. Jack Osteen, advertising director for The Item newspaper in Sumter, said the paper received 571 entries for the paper's third annual listing, which covers 122 categories, from the best dance school to the best place for sweet tea.
Arthur Bradley, president and general manager of Ace Parker Tire, said he was not expecting the recognition.
``We never have won, so we were tired of taking the back seat,'' he joked.
He said he plans to use the awards extensively in marketing, especially ads featuring co-founder Adrian ``Ace'' Parker, who passed away in 1991. Mr. Bradley, Mr. Parker and Billy Burrows founded the one-outlet dealership in 1979. They moved to a new store in 1983. The dealership sells Michelin, Uniroyal and BFGoodrich brands.
``That was his long (goal), customer satisfaction,'' Mr. Bradley said of Mr. Parker.
Ace Parker Tire received three certificates for the awards, which Mr. Bradley said will be displayed around the dealership.
In Solano County, Calif., readers chose a Big O Tires Inc. outlet as the best place to buy tires, said Bill James, editor of the Daily Republic. The store in Fairfield, Calif., beat out competition from Les Schwab Tire Centers and Costco Wholesale Corp. stores, Mr. James said. It was Big O's 7th year on top, he said.
Oscar Sandoval, manager at the store, said some customers read the article about the award and come in to ask about it. He said the owner, Vincent Garrett, gives the staff flexibility to make customers happy.
``We're a locally owned business, and that's how they want to treat customers,'' he said, adding the shop has been there for about 25 years.
The shop paints the windows with mention of the award and hangs similar banners. The store also started a ``wall of fame'' that makes customers aware of the distinction and its record, Mr. Sandoval said.
Big O outlets in Colorado also either won or were runners-up for similar accolades, according to a Big O company newsletter. Outlets in Elizabeth, Parker and Castle Rock were recognized plus three other stores in the Littleton area, the newsletter said.