For more than 30 years-first as Plainview Tire Wholesalers Inc., and since 1988 under its present name-Future Tire Co. has taken pride in being ``a one-stop shopping center'' for the tire needs of customers in the greater New York and surrounding areas.
``We sell a wide variety of tires-a much wider variety than most,'' said Joe Gerardi, Future Tire sales manager. Its inventory includes passenger, truck, off-road, industrial, trailer and lawn and garden tires. Some of the firm's brands include Bridgestone, Firestone-it's been a TireStarz distributor since 1999-Peerless, Cooper, Falken, Sumitomo and Vikrant.
Future Tire's business in the greater Philadelphia area (including southern Pennsylvania and New Jersey) had grown so much in recent years that the wholesaler could no longer comfortably service its customers there from its 52,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in Old Bethpage. So in June it took over part of a common warehouse in Philadelphia. Mr. Gerardi did not know offhand the total square footage the company has there.
``We were sending trucks to Philly, generally three times a week,'' he said. ``Particularly with the cost of fuel, it made sense to open a Philadelphia warehouse.''
The Philadelphia distribution center doesn't have as large an inventory as the Old Bethpage main warehouse, he added. It contains mostly Bridgestone, Firestone and Peerless passenger tires, with some truck and industrial tires.
Reliable Tire Co. and Englewood Tire Distributors are Future Tire's main competitors in its distribution area, ``though in our area, we're really the big players,'' Mr. Gerardi claimed.
Future Tire did about $45 million in sales last year, according to Mr. Gerardi, and is on track to do $50 million this year. Pricing is ``not terrible,'' he said, but fill rates are ``still a struggle, though we're pretty much on top of our original equipment stuff. We're not 100 percent, but we're trying.''
The biggest problems with fill rates have come lately from truck and industrial tires as well as tires for foreign cars, Mr. Gerardi told Tire Business. ``People in our area aren't too happy when they order tires for their BMWs and have to wait two weeks or two months for them,'' he said. Falken tires have been particularly tough to obtain this year, he added, because of a highly favorable write-up they got in Consumer Reports. ``Everybody wants them now, so they can't get them out of Japan fast enough.''
Future Tire has no definite plans to open another warehouse, ``but it's not out of the question,'' Mr. Gerardi said. ``Philly took a little of the pressure off of us.'' The company is thinking about splitting its workday into two swing shifts in order to slash delivery times to customers who place tire orders in the afternoon, he added.
Future Tire services 22 TireStarz accounts in its tri-state delivery area, according to the firm's Web site.
Future Tire was founded in 1973 by Richard Kugel, who continues as vice president, and Marty Katz.