WATERTOWN, Mass. (Feb. 4, 2010) — Motivation Design L.L.C., which makes Kurgo-brand automotive accessories, is calling the pilot program for its Eco Tire Tote reusable tire storage bag a success.
Watertown-based Direct Tire & Auto Service, which began offering the reusable bags to customers last fall at all four of its Boston-area retail outlets, has opted to retain the product at each shop, Direct Tire President Barry Steinberg said.
“People love them, you know,” he told Tire Business. “We got them displayed in the showrooms with a tire in it and the sign above it,” he said. “We're in liberal New England, so people are very green. It's a cool product and at the end of the day it saves us money on plastic bags, both from a purchasing standpoint and recycling.”
The Eco Tire Tote—designed as a means for consumers to store their tires during winter and summer tire changeovers—accommodates passenger tire sizes from 22 to 31 inches in rim diameter and is a replacement for the firm's more expensive Tire Tote product.
“We have what we call our seasonal Tire Tote, which is for a similar purpose, but it's made out of more of a nylon type of material,” said Gordie Spater, who owns Salisbury, Mass.-based Motivation Design along with his brother Kitter Spater. The company sold that tire storage bag to dealers at $22 per set of four.
“What we began to realize was that we needed to try and find a less-expensive alternative for both the dealer and for the consumer so that we could actually have a reusable bag that could replace the current plastic bag.”
Mr. Spater said his inspiration for the Eco Tire Tote, which the company offers at a wholesale price of $10 per set, was reusable bag programs recently put in place by grocery stores across the country.
“You can use an L.L.Bean tote for your groceries, but the cost of that doesn't make it as approachable” as reusable bags now offered by grocery stores, Mr. Spater said. “We kind of looked at that as an analogy for what we wanted to do here.”
Mr. Spater added that selling the bags to consumers helps tire dealers save money, since traditional plastic bags usually cost them between 28 and 40 cents each.
“There's all this added benefit of the customer now having a reusable bag, so financially it makes sense, but there's a kind of psychological benefit also,” he said.
Mr. Steinberg said since adopting the Eco Tire Tote into his stores, the company has sold about 360 sets at a price of $15 per set. In addition to being a cheaper option for consumers, he said the product also offers the benefit of safer storage for tires than conventional plastic bags.
“It's actually better to store your tires in these things simply because if you put it in a plastic bag and you tie it air tight, that's not good for the tire either,” Mr. Steinberg said. “The tire needs to breath and especially if the tire was wet going into the bag—like on a snowy day—that'll really speed up the aging of the tire.”
Mr. Spater said Direct Tire was the first tire dealership to have access to the Eco Tire Tote, but the company will begin marketing the product to other area dealers in 2010.
To contact William Schertz: [email protected]; 330-865-6148.