Former employee buys tire shop
NORTH BAY, N.Y.-A man who started working at Wisinski's Automotive when he was 16 has bought the shop after the founder's death.
Jamie Wimmer, 33, and his business partner, Don Pioniak, bought the shop this summer and renamed it Hometown Auto. The one-outlet dealership sells Cooper tires as well as automotive service.
Beverly Wisinski said her husband, Fred, founded the dealership in 1978 in their house. They bought the building for the shop in 1988, she said. Their two sons pursued other careers outside the tire industry.
When he started working for Mr. Wisinski, Mr. Wimmer did minor repairs, worked on tires and cleaned up the shop among various duties.
"All the little stuff no one else wanted to do," he joked.
Dealership gets the holiday mood
MOREAUVILLE, La.-For the second year, S&R Tire and Lube L.L.C. has gotten into the Christmas spirit with a big pile of tires.
The Moreauville-based dealership built a 13-foot Christmas tree out of tires in front of the shop, and another 8-foot tree will appear on a float in the town's Christmas parade. A small tire wrapped in red ribbon with poinsettias and a bell served as a wreath.
Owners Ruddie and Stephen Rico said the large tree and its lights can be seen for almost a mile. Last year S&R Tire's tree took second place in the parade, and the owners hope they'll place again this year.
Bauer Built buys Tires Plus outlet
DURAND, Wis.-Bauer Built Inc. purchased the assets of a Tires Plus location in Chippewa Falls, Wis., for an undisclosed amount on Nov. 1.
The acquisition gives Bauer Built its first company-owned, retail-only store. It is located 45 miles from its headquarters in Durand and near its combination commercial/retail center in Eau Claire, Wis., according to President Jerry Bauer.
"We've got some nice economies of scale with our retail, advertising and promotions," Mr. Bauer said of the deal. "It's right in our backyard."
The Tires Plus store was an independent franchise and not owned by Bridgestone/Firestone, which acquired the Tires Plus chain as part of its purchase of Morgan Tire & Auto Inc. in 2001. John Hepfler, one of the former owners of the four-bay Tires Plus location, will become the store manager for the new Bauer Built outlet and retain his staff.
Mr. Bauer said he wasn't looking for a retail location nor was he targeting any independent Tires Plus franchises. The owners of the franchise had put the store up for sale and contacted him to see if he was interested. Mr. Bauer liked the store's proximity to his other locations as well as the fact the real estate was included in the deal. He also wanted to test and see how a retail-only Bauer Built store would fare.
"It's near a major interchange that's being developed, plus we haven't really done anything in retail," Mr. Bauer said. "Everything's been mostly commercial for us."
With the Chippewa Falls store, Bauer Built operates 27 locations (26 of which are combination retail/commercial stores), nine distribution centers and seven Michelin Retread Technologies retread plants.
O.K. Tire sales up, adds warehouses
LANGLEY, British Columbia-O.K. Tire Stores Inc. ended its fiscal year with an 11-percent increase in sales as well as expansions to several warehouses.
The Langley-based dealer-owned franchiser said the sales increase set a record for the fiscal year, which ended in September. The company said strong October sales hint at a strong fiscal 2004 as well.
O.K. Tire also is expanding some of its warehouse facilities. The company said it moved into larger facilities in Regina and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
"We recently moved into a larger facility in Calgary, Alberta, and further expansion plans include doubling the size of warehouse space in Baie d'Urfe, Quebec, and increasing our warehousing facilities in the Ontario market," said Ken MacLeod, president and CEO of O.K. Tire.
The company services about 240 independent tire dealers-up from 225 at the start of the year. Its goal is to have about 300 dealers signed on by year-end 2005.
O.K. Tire records annual retail sales of about $250 million (Can.).
Goss Tire adds eighth outlet
BURLINGTON, Vt.-Goss Tire Co. has moved into a new market in Vermont, hoping to reach young professionals with more disposable income.
Owner Terry Sheahan said the leased, four-bay store in St. Albans-Goss Tire's eighth store-will be replaced in three years by a new, six-bay building on a different site. St. Albans recently has become a bedroom community for Burlington with many young professionals living there.
"It's a market we've always wanted to be in, and the opportunity finally presented itself," Mr. Sheahan told Tire Business.
Goss Tire's usual customers generally are value or value-plus customers, though those who shop at the new store are likely to have more money and be willing to pay for good service, Mr. Sheahan said.
Goss Tire also plans to build two new stores and close the existing stores in those markets. The new stores should be built in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and Williston, Vt., in about six months. Mr. Sheahan also hopes to open a ninth store by year-end 2004.
Ontario tire dealer looks to sell
BRANTFORD, Ontario-A 35-year industry veteran is looking to sell his single-outlet dealership in Brantford.
Cliff Howe, who founded Tire City, last year was planning to expand his business and add staff, but he began having health problems, said Ken Karakas, sales representative for Executive Realty Brantford Inc.
"It's time to retire," Mr. Karakas said of Mr. Howe, who is in his 80s.
The $375,000 (Canadian) asking price includes the land, building, equipment and stock. The dealership sells primarily Cooper tires and employs two. Tire City in 2002 added new signage as part of the planned expansion.
Fountain Tire wins two awards
EDMONTON, Alberta-Brian Hesje, CEO of Fountain Tire, recently won an award from the Canadian Institute of Retailing and Services (CIRAS) for his leadership in the retail and service sector.
The CIRAS Henry Singer Award, presented Oct. 21 in Edmonton, also recognizes an individual's contributions to the community, the group said. The award was established in 1992 in honor of Mr. Singer, who founded the Henry Singer Fashion Group.
"Brian Hesje certainly lives up to the standard of excellence the award demands," said Paul McElhone, executive director of CIRAS, in a statement.
Mr. Hesje has been part of the Goodyear dealership's management team for about 20 years. In 2001, he resigned his presidency though he remains CEO and chairman. Fountain Tire operates more than 150 outlets in Canada.
Fountain Tire also has been named one of 17 Canadian businesses to the newly formed Platinum Club, a recognition for companies that have sustained a standard of excellence and leadership.
Founded by Canada's 50 Best Managed Company Awards program, the club looks at firms that have qualified in the award program for at least six consecutive years. Now in its 11th year, the awards program annually recognizes 50 well-managed Canadian companies that must complete an extensive process to assess and examine their management practices. The 2003 winners will be announced Jan. 12.
Golf outing raises $17,000 for charity
RIVERVIEW, Fla.-The Suncoast Tire Dealers Association's 13th annual golf tournament raised $17,000 for two area charities.
Proceeds are for the Florida Automotive Trades Association's scholarship and vocational programs offered through the state association-for which Suncoast is a chapter-and Joshua House, a local center for abused and neglected children. The association said 108 players and sponsors participated in the tournament.
Major sponsors included Pioneer Tire, Bright House Network, NAPA Auto Parts, American Tire Distributors Inc., Unibelt Systems, CarQuest Auto Parts and Olin Mott Tire Co.
T.O. Haas Tire earns award
LINCOLN, Neb.-For the 14th consecutive year, T.O. Haas Tire Co. was named the best tire store as part of a contest for a local radio station.
From May 27 to June 13, the public voted on a variety of categories for the "Best of Lincoln" contest, ranging from best grocers and restaurants to cleaners and coffee. T.O. Haas Tire was the overall winner in the tire stores category.
The survey-for Three Eagles Communications' KFOR radio station-was conducted by Research Associates in Lincoln.
T.O. Haas Tire operates 29 retail locations in Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa.
Dealer opens quick-lube shop
BALTIMORE-Ken Cavin, owner of Ken's Service Center Inc., decided against opening his fourth Goodyear outlet and instead started a Valvoline quick-lube shop near one of his other stores.
He said he had committed to a developer that the fourth shop would be a Goodyear store, but he decided instead to invest the money elsewhere and start the quick-lube because of uncertainty surrounding the tire maker.
"I think Goodyear will be OK when you look at the turnaround, especially in our market, where there's so many changes going on," he said. Still, he added his focus is on his dealership and building a solid inheritance for his grandchildren.
Next year, Mr. Cavin's dealership will celebrate its 25th year in business. So far he doesn't have major plans for the anniversary except to continue an unwritten perk of buying a new pickup truck for employees who pass their 20th year with the business. This summer Mr. Cavin gave a Dodge Ram to Danny Schell.
ATD announces 'Big Score' winners
CHARLOTTE, N.C.-American Tire Distributors Inc. named seven regional grand prize winners as part of its "Big Score" promotion.
The regional winners are: Bill Davis of Davis Tire & Auto Center, Jackson, Miss.; Dianne Pike of Mission Tire Co., Cartersville, Ga.; Joe Pedzwater of Aspen Tire & Auto Inc., Wilmington, N.C.; Ed Pacheco of Family Tire Distributors Inc., Pembroke Pines, Fla.; Robert Chaney of Chaney Tire, Clinton, Md.; Andy Andonian of Discount Tire, Los Angeles; and Randy Haas of T.O. Haas Tire Co., Lincoln, Neb.
As part of the promotion-which recognized dealers exceeding sales goals for Michelin, BFGoodrich and Uniroyal products-ATD also acknowledged 15 first prize winners and 119 performance level prices based on points earned for sales.