CHARLOTTE, N.C.—As a “natural evolution” from its core commercial tire business, Snider Tire Inc.'s industrial/OTR tire division is growing despite the economy.
Snider Tire ventured into the industrial/OTR segment in January 2007, a month after Ken Hinson, Snider Tire's director of industrial tire sales and marketing, joined the dealership.
Mr. Hinson, who heads up the division and its dozen employees, said the industrial/OTR tire business has grown from the ground up through new customers and existing commercial customers who operate industrial equipment.
“Even in these economic times, we've done relatively well,” he said. “We've laid off no one. Everyone works their regular hours, and we've been very, very fortunate in that our business in this economy (this year) has been flat, but no losses.”
Snider Tire's industrial/OTR division is based in Charlotte even though the dealership's corporate headquarters is in Greensboro, N.C. The unit sells solid tires; cushion press-on band tires; industrial radial and bias-ply tires; molded rubber tires and wheel assemblies for skid steers; and radial and bias OTR tires, among others. It also retreads industrial and solid tires.
Its brands include Michelin, Continental, Galaxy, Primex, MITCO, as well as private labels made by Cheng Shin Rubber Co. Ltd.
Mr. Hinson said the division has pressing capabilities for cushion and solid tires in Charlotte, Columbia, S.C., and at Snider Tire's Georgia locations in Thomasville, Ellenwood and Commerce.
The company also can do pressing in Texas, and has serviced customers there, he said.
Snider Tire is North America's seventh largest commercial tire dealership, with estimated commercial sales of $180 million and 31 outlets in eight states, according to Tire Business' rankings. Its entrance into the industrial/OTR tire market not only gains a foothold into new business but also helps it to offer one-stop service to commercial customers, Mr. Hinson explained.
“Truthfully, it was a natural evolution of our core business, which is commercial tires.… It was a good fit,” he said.
“It's a good value-added business to support our customers.”
Snider Tire's on-call, 24-hour emergency service for commercial customers also handles industrial and OTR accounts, as the dealership's technicians are cross-trained to handle all types of tires.
Last year, sales from the division were “in the neighborhood” of $2.75 million, according to Mr. Hinson.
“We are the baby division within the company,” he said. “Therefore, it seems to be the most chaotic sometimes. However, it continues to work, it continues to grow in this economy, and we're quite proud of it.”
He admitted that as the nation's economy continues to struggle, it's been a challenge to replace business lost from the housing construction sector's downturn. The recession has forced the dealership's unit to go back to basics. Snider Tire has turned to servicing food service-related businesses and the logistics that support the retail clothing market—the types of goods and services people need, Mr. Hinson said.
The industrial/OTR division also has picked up “a lot of business” from LTL (less-than-truckload) carriers, he said.
“We've been very successful in moving and flowing with the market and not just getting stuck and saying, 'This is all we can do and we can't do anything else.'”
Mr. Hinson noted that he sees the division's business growing every year and possibly doubling during the second half of this year by servicing customers in a new, innovative way, but he declined to elaborate.
He came to Snider Tire after working as corporate sales manager for a small family-owned specialty tire company in Concord, N.C., which he declined to name.