Snider Tire Inc. added five commercial outlets in the second half of last year, pushing its total to 19, the commercial dealership and retreader said.
The company opened commercial sites in Columbia, S.C., Durham and Hickory, N.C., and Bryan, Texas, and bought a location in Florence, S.C. The dealership also this month signed a non-binding letter of intent to buy certain assets of WNC Tire Inc. in Asheville, N.C., which has one tire store and a Bandag retread plant. That deal is not yet final.
John Snider, president and CEO, said the new sites aren't in ``dramatic'' new markets for Snider Tire, but some of the stores are in areas where the company previously didn't have representation. The company also is looking at further expansion.
``I'm sure that we will add locations this year,'' he told Tire Business.
Also last year, Snider Tire replaced one of its Bandag retread plants in Columbia. The company had two plants and replaced one of the older ones with a new facility, Mr. Snider said. The old plant had been part of an acquisition of another company in 2000, he added.
``The retread facility was inadequate for what our plans are, so we moved into an 80,000-sq.-ft. new facility,'' he said.
The new plant produces about 200 retreads a day, contributing to the company's overall output of 1,200 retreads a day at its eight plants, Mr. Snider said. Though the company continually replaces equipment, he said there is still some production capacity available.
In 2003, Snider Tire reported sales of $101 million-up 8 percent from 2002-and expects $108 million this year. Mr. Snider said many customers remain cautiously optimistic about the economy, especially in light of fuel and insurance costs.
``Our business has stayed steadily increasing,'' he said. ``I wouldn't say it was robust in 2001 or 2002, but it certainly seemed to improve some last year, and we're optimistic about what we see early this year.''