Long-time Goodyear dealer Bruce Scher likes to spend time in Nevada at a vacation house in Carson City. He'll be spending a lot more time in Nevada now after taking over nine Superior Tire retail stores in Las Vegas from Goodyear.
Mr. Scher, owner of Scher Tire Inc. in Riverside, Calif., for the past 23 years, already has converted the nine Superior stores to Scher-Superior Tire and has three additional sites picked out for expansion. The Las Vegas component of the dealership could reach 20 stores in three to four years, he said.
Mr. Scher said he approached Goodyear earlier this year about the availability of the Superior Tire outlets after Mountain View Tire & Service of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., opted out of a management contract deal to operate the stores in partnership with Goodyear.
Since Goodyear and TBC Corp. co-owned the 16-store chain, they first had to work out between them what they wanted to do with the dealership. In the end, Goodyear retained nine of the stores and sold them and the Superior Tire business to Mr. Scher for an undisclosed sum.
TBC kept seven stores and has since turned over the leases on those locations to Big O Tires Inc. franchisees Steve Smith and Alan Wilson.
``This is going to be fun,'' Mr. Scher said of the opportunity to get involved in Las Vegas/Henderson, one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the country. Mr. Scher has retained most of the 100 employees who were with Superior Tire before the change.
The nine Scher-Superior outlets complement 23 Scher Tire outlets in California. In addition, Mr. Scher holds leases on a dozen more stores in California operating as R Kids Tire & Service, People's Tire and other names. These stores are in areas outside of Scher Tire's core marketing area, he explained, and are operated by former Scher Tire employees who demonstrated the desire and talent to strike out on their own.
Mr. Scher started in the tire business in1980 as a mechanic at a dealership in Santa Ana, Calif., and shortly thereafter struck out on his own, buying a Goodyear dealership in Artesia, Calif., in 1981.
For Messrs. Smith and Wilson, the breakup of Superior Tire means a fresh start for the former Winston Tire Co. executives, who now control 15 Big O stores in the Las Vegas/Henderson area.
Messrs. Smith and Wilson stepped into their first Big O stores in late 2002 when longtime Big O dealers Jeff and Wes Stephenson decided to exit the tire business after more than 20 years, selling the franchise rights to their handful of Big O stores in Nevada.
Initially, Mr. Wilson had gone to work for Big O at the corporate level after the demise in 2001 of Winston Tire, but when the opportunity arose to acquire a group of franchises, he and Mr. Smith went into partnership to take advantage of the opening. Initially they took over two stores in late 2002, then took over another five stores in early 2003 along with a single outlet from another franchisee in the area, Mr. Smith said.
The Smith-Wilson partnership is one of Big O Tire's largest franchisees. Other multiple-outlet franchise owners are: CSB Partnership (Christopher Phillips), with 20 outlets in the Capistrano Beach, Calif., area; U.S. Autocare L.L.C. (Stephan Wilson), with 15 stores in the metro Detroit area; and Asher Big O (Todd Asher), with 13 outlets in and around Pleasant Hill, Calif.
A Yellow Pages search of the Las Vegas/Henderson metro area shows more than 165 retail tire outlets. Besides Big O and Scher-Superior, other retailers with clout in the Las Vegas metro area include: Discount Tire Co. with 17 outlets; Ted Wiens Tire and Auto Centers, 11 outlets; Pep Boys-Manny, Moe and Jack, 10 outlets; and Sam's Club/Wal-Mart, with eight locations. There are no Goodyear or Firestone company stores in the area.