TBC Corp. has taken over three former Great American Tire Co. stores in the Atlanta area and converted them to a new format, NTB Rapid Lube, which offers a ``24 Guaranteed'' program covering 24 automotive services in 24 minutes for $24.
TBC/National Tire & Battery (NTB) is using the ``Rapid Lube'' name with permission of Shell Oil Co., which coined it several years ago for its own quick lube outlets. TBC is featuring Shell's Pennzoil brand lubrication products at the NTB Rapid Lube stores.
Each of the three stores-in Alpharetta, Cumming and Roswell, Ga.-has four service bays dedicated to the quick lube business along with eight bays reserved for traditional auto and tire service, according to Bob Crostarosa, vice president of marketing.
``The new service was born out of the understanding that car owners need comprehensive maintenance services made more convenient and affordable,'' according to Mr. Crostarosa, who said the new concept will allow NTB to expand its service offerings into other maintenance areas.
The Great American Tire stores had been closed for several months, Mr. Crostarosa said, before TBC took them over, rebadged the outlets and opened them for business June 9.
The new stores will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. Reservations are not needed for service. Among the services offered in addition to the oil/filter change are checks of fluids, tire pressure and tread depth, battery, wipers, lights, belts and hoses, etc., as well as cleaning the windows and vacuuming the interior.
TBC also took over a Great American Tire store in McKinney, Texas, and intends to reopen it as an NTB Rapid Lube location.
As former Great American Tire stores, each location is sited adjacent to a Shell Oil service station. This was the Great American Tire concept launched seven years ago with financial backing from Shell Oil.
Two other Great American Tire locations, in Hunters Hill and Oakbrook, Colo., were bought last year by Vince and Dwight Pridemore, who operate them now as Pride Auto Care.
The remaining Great American locations-in Arizona, Colorado, Virginia and Washington-are no longer in operation. The firm's headquarters telephone numbers are disconnected and its Web site is no longer active.
The first Great American stored opened in 1999 in Denver, and at its peak the dealership reached 15 stores. The chain's principals had projected 35 stores short-term and hundreds long-term.
The project had the backing of the distribution arms of Texaco and Shell Oil; the concept was to place a full service tire dealership in close proximity to a new generation of gasoline service stations that would offer gasoline, a convenience mart, a quick-service restaurant and a car wash.