Goodyear has converted 14 Just Tires outlets in the Sacramento and San Jose, Calif., markets to Goodyear Auto Service Centers and closed nine others.
The move leaves Goodyear with 50 Just Tires stores in California, in the Los Angeles area, and 66 more outlets in five other metropolitan areas-Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore/Washington D.C., and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
Most of the California outlets previously were Winston Tire stores that Goodyear took over in 2002.
Just Tires is Goodyear's quick-fit-type store concept, emphasizing 30-minute installation times and offering only alignments besides tires and wheels. Just Tires outlets offer a dozen or more major brands, including Goodyear, Dunlop and Republic.
The change will allow Goodyear to improve its presence in markets where it felt it was under-represented, a spokesman said. The closings occurred in mid-December.
Goodyear also recently changed the management at Just Tires, hiring former Sears, Roebuck and Co. executive Jerry Alessia to head the retail chain. He replaces Lenny Mullen, who was assigned to a special projects post for Goodyear's retail operations group after heading up Just Tires for six years. He will drive standardization across all Goodyear stores in his new post, Goodyear said.
Mr. Alessia joined Sears in 1990 in national retail management. Most recently, he served as director of customer care and operations.
At the same time, Goodyear has converted 23 Allied Tires & Service outlets in Florida to Goodyear Auto Service Centers and is operating the remaining 24 Allied Tires-badged outlets under the same format internally.
Allied Tires is a Melbourne, Fla.-based chain Goodyear acquired in its 1999 purchase of majority ownership of Dunlop Tire Corp. from Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd.
The changes leave Goodyear with 615 Goodyear Auto Service Centers, up from 584 a year ago, along with the 116 Just Tires and 24 Allied Tires stores.