Dan Callaghan is proud of the family-owned commercial and retread tire business he and his wife Betty founded 27 years ago.
Since taking over a small, closed Bandag shop in Bradenton in February 1978 and forming Callaghan Tire, the two, along with an assortment of family members and loyal employees, have built the company into the 33rd largest commercial tire dealership and the 45th biggest medium truck tire retreader in North America.
While Mrs. Callaghan has just retired as vice president and treasurer of the dealership, her husband, at age 68, has no plans to step down anytime soon.
``I'm still in good health and have a passion for the business,'' said the dealership's CEO.
>From its modest beginning, Callaghan Tire now operates 10 commercial tire dealerships, two Bandag retread plants, an industrial tire facility and one retail outlet in Florida.
The commercial outlets are located in Bradenton, Tampa, Clearwater, Lakeland, Ocala, Riviera Beach, Miami, Naples, Fort Myers and Jacksonville, its newest location, which opened in January 2004.
Sales reached $35 million in 2005, with the commercial tire segment accounting for nearly $26 million in revenues and retreading almost $9 million. The two Bandag plants produced about 322 medium truck retreads a day during the past year consuming about 1.9 million pounds of tread rubber.
Retreading is an area of growth for the dealership. Callaghan Tire acquired its second Bandag retread shop, which also housed a commercial tire center, in September 2003 when it purchased Palm Beach Bandag in Riviera Beach, a new marketing area for the dealership. At the time, the retread shop was producing 20 to 30 medium truck tire retreads a day.
Today, production has improved to about 80 retreads daily and sales have tripled at the former Palm Beach Bandag operation, which is housed in three leased 5,000-sq.-ft. buildings, Mr. Callaghan said.
To expand the Riviera Beach business even further and to improve efficiency, the dealership is in the process of purchasing a 25,000-sq.-ft. facility a few blocks from the current buildings and has plans to relocate the operation there.
The dealership expects to close on the property by early fall, which will allow for an expansion of the retread plant and the installation of some new equipment. Mr. Callaghan would not be more specific.
Mr. Callaghan had always wanted to own a family business when, at age 42, he and his wife decided to take the plunge.
When the closed Bandag shop in Bradenton became available, he had been working for Bandag Inc. as central division manager, based in Muscatine, Iowa, following nine years in Michelin North America Inc.'s commercial division.
The owner had bought the shop six months earlier for his sons, who apparently weren't interested in the business, Mr. Callaghan said. And so the owner had shut the plant.
Armed with bank loans and $10,000 of their own money, Mr. and Mrs. Callaghan bought the business, taking, as he put it, ``a big step back financially.''
The lure of owning their own business, coupled with the desire to live in Florida, however, were too strong, so they grabbed the opportunity.
Today, the Callaghans have five family members-two of their four daughters as well as three sons-in-law-besides themselves on their 175-employee payroll.
Son-in-law Todd Severson, a 26-year company veteran, serves as president. Another son-in-law, Guy Virgilio, manages the manufacturing operation, including the two retread plants, a rim refurbishing operation as well as shipping and receiving in the plants. His wife Patty is the firm's chief administrative officer and has worked at the dealership for 25 years.
Mike Morgan, a third son-in-law, sells industrial tires for the dealership, while the Callaghans' daughter Jane Trinci serves as the company's human resources manager. Two other daughters, Kathy Morgan and Michelle Severson, are school teachers as is Jane Trinci's husband Vince.
Looking to the future, Mr. Callaghan said he would like to see the company continue its growth. ``As long as the inner circle of family members want to expand,'' he said, ``we'll just look at each opportunity as it comes along.''
As for himself, he said, ``I enjoy the business and have no plans to sell it.''