SPARKS, Nev. (Jan. 26, 2006) — For Ed Stocker, founder of Silver State Tire Co., it simply was time to get out.
Mr. Stocker, 70, recently sold Silver State and its Golden State Tire affiliate to American Tire Distributors (ATD) Inc., and also sold his two Bandag retread plants, which operated as Silver State Retreading, to Bandag Inc.'s Tire Distribution Systems (TDS) unit.
ATD approached Mr. Stocker in September about his wholesale business, which serves 1,250 customers in Nevada and California from five distribution centers.
The sales mark the end of Mr. Stocker's 52 years in the tire business. He started in 1956 as a trainee with Firestone Tire & Rubber Co.'s retail network after graduating from the University of San Francisco.
He worked his way up to division sales manager for the western U.S. by 1970, when he left Firestone to start his own retail businesss.
That business, Stocker Tire, based in Modesto, Calif., eventually grew to nine retail/commercial stores by 1981, when Mr. Stocker sold them and started Silver State Tire.
“I just felt there was a good opportunity at that time for the wholesale business,” he said of his decision.
Along the way he opened additional warehouses and in 1988 set up his first Bandag retread plant, in Sparks.
The second plant is in Merced, Calif.
In mid-1999 he bought three warehouses in California and one in Oregon from Greenball Corp. that became Golden State Tire; the Portland, Ore., location later was sold, he said.
Neither Mr. Stocker, ATD nor TDS disclosed the value of the deals. Mr. Stocker said the combined businesses collectively represented about $50 million in annual sales, with about 45 employees.
While Mr. Stocker is retiring from the tire industry, he said he'll keep busy volunteering his time with the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), a charity in which he was deeply involved for more than decade during the 1970s and '80s.
“In 1975 I was watching the Jerry Lewis telethon (for MDA), and Bob Smith, then chairman of United Airlines, said something that inspired me to get involved,” Mr. Stocker said.
“I eventually got on the executive committee,” he said, “but then the demands of my business forced me to step aside. Now I think I'll have the time to get involved again.”