MERIDIAN, Idaho (Feb. 22, 2006) — Commercial Tire Inc. President and CEO Bob Schwenkfelder would agree with “The Wizard of Oz” heroine Dorothy that there's no place like home.
Mr. Schwenkfelder has set his sights on expanding his dealership's presence in the Boise, Idaho, metropolitan area, beginning with the construction and opening of a new commercial/retail store in the suburb of Meridian in 2006.
At the same time, he plans to expand another Commercial Tire location in Boise and the Meridian corporate offices.
“There's so much growth here,” Mr. Schwenkfelder said of the Boise area. “We feel that for the immediate future there's a lot of opportunity for us to add facilities, and that's where we're going to concentrate our efforts for the next two to three years.”
When Commercial Tire has opened new outlets, much of the growth occurred in Washington or Utah. But now the dealership is focusing on its own backyard because of a favorable business climate and growing affluence in Boise, said Trent Schwenkfelder, vice president of store operations and Bob Schwenkfelder's son. Trucking activity has increased as the population has grown, he said, and Meridian in particular is the fastest growing suburb.
“I think Idaho is starting to be somewhat discovered,” Trent Schwenkfelder said. “There's a lot of people moving here from California. Property values are a little more reasonable, and it's a pretty good area for starting new businesses.”
Construction on the new Meridian store should begin in the spring, with the store ready to open by late summer or early fall, Trent Schwenkfelder said.
The company also will add 20,000 square feet of warehouse space to its headquarters and 3,500 square feet to the Boise store on Cole Road. Commercial Tire had moved its corporate headquarters to Meridian from Boise two years ago and had removed the warehouse from Cole Road to make room for more bays, Trent Schwenkfelder explained.
Although he hasn't purchased properties yet, Bob Schwenkfelder said he'd like to build a store per year for the next three years in the Boise metro area, continuing the company's history of growing slowly and steadily with two or three stores at most in a year. The dealership operates five stores in Boise and 31 locations overall—including four retread plants—and most of the outlets are along the I-84 corridor running through Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
Bob Schwenkfelder said the Idaho and Oregon stores are mostly combination commercial/retail centers, all Utah stores are commercial and the Washington stores are commercial/retail facilities. He said Commercial Tire probably will report $52 million in sales for 2005, and he said he'd like to not only see the company's sales grow in the next few years but also would like the dealership to become a great career opportunity for its 335 employees.
Bob Schwenkfelder founded the business 37 years ago as a commercial dealership but started in the retail business in the mid-1980s with the purchase of a couple of facilities with retail operations. Since then, Commercial Tire has expanded the retail side to 40 percent of the dealership's sales.
One of Commercial Tire's main selling points is its 100-percent satisfaction guarantee to make the customer happy, according to Bob Schwenkfelder.
“It's something that we believe in,” he explained. “We don't want people leaving our facilities upset and feeling like they got a bad deal or we sold inferior products. It costs a lot of money to advertise. If you have to step up to the plate and make a bad deal right, it usually costs you a lot less to do that than to advertise for a new customer.
“Our philosophy is to retain the customers we have through satisfaction and do whatever it takes to make that happen.”