With its home base of South Carolina getting crowded, Consolidated Tires Inc. is exploring an expansion into three nearby markets.
President Will Dennis said the commercial and retail tire dealership is considering options in Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., and an area in Tennessee.
``We can't grow much more in South Carolina,'' he told Tire Business. ``We're looking for 12-percent growth in five years. We can't do that in our markets.''
Consolidated Tires reported 2004 sales of $32.6 million, and it projects sales of $31.7 million in 2005.
The company was founded in South Carolina in 1952. It now operates three retail/commercial outlets, a Michelin Retread Technologies Inc. retread plant, one warehouse and a transportation center for large fleets.
Mr. Dennis said Consolidated Tires is looking to establish a commercial-only center in the Atlanta area-the first of the three markets the company will tackle. He said the company already does some business in northeast Georgia.
``We want infrastructure in all three of the metro markets,'' he said, adding acquisitions or leases are the most likely method to doing that.
But Mr. Dennis said the company continues to grow its South Carolina operations, investing in equipment-including five new service trucks-and additional services for fleets.
Late last year Consolidated Tires and Michelin North America Inc.'s Tire Centers L.L.C. (TCI) unit swapped commercial tire outlets in South Carolina. TCI bought Consolidated's North Charleston, S.C., center while Consolidated acquired TCI's Columbia, S.C., operation.
Earlier this year Consolidated Tires added Goodyear and Dunlop brands to both its commercial and retail stable, plus added Goodyear earthmover tires to its lineup. Mr. Dennis said he was drawn to Goodyear's brands for the national accounts and to help with some truck tire supply issues.
Consolidated Tires also sells Bridgestone, BFGoodrich, Firestone, Kelly, Michelin and Double Coin tires.