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Moore's Tire Sales adds 11th warehouse

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SCRANTON, Pa.—Moore's Tire Sales Inc. opened its 11th wholesale distribution warehouse Sept. 1 in Scranton.

Bill Watkins, owner of the Owego, N.Y.-based firm, estimated the area covered by the new location could generate between $7 million and $8 million in annual sales for the company.

The 40,000-sq.-ft. building is replacing another warehouse the company previously leased for five years in a nearby town.

“We did pretty good there, so after the five years I went out and purchased a building,” Mr. Watkins said. While the company still leases many of its properties—which also include five retail outlets, two of those doing business as Reid's Tire Sales—Mr. Watkins said low interest rates on commercial real estate made the decision to buy an easy one.

“The market is right for buying, so we're trying to build equity and keep growing,” he said.

The company purchased the building from its previous tenant, a wholesale produce company that stocked fruits and vegetables. “When I bought it, it was super clean, which was really nice for a change,” Mr. Watkins said.

Moore's Tire made some minor cosmetic upgrades to the building before moving in, adding rubber mulch, a new awning, paint and a new sprinkler system.

Moore's is not done growing, Mr. Watkins said, as he has been looking into expanding further west into Pennsylvania, considering new distribution centers in areas such as Stroudsburg, Williamsport and Bloomsburg, Pa. The Scranton warehouse is the firm's only one outside of New York.

Mr. Watkins added he's content with sticking to the New York and Pennsylvania markets. “I don't have any huge goals of growing down the coast or anything like that,” he said.

Moore's Tire was founded in 1964 by brothers Byron and Jim Moore as a family-owned business. Today, it employs more than 160 and generates upwards of $70 million in annual sales, Mr. Watkins said.

The firm's primary tire brands include Cooper, Dean, Falken, Goodyear and Roadmaster.

Moore's also operates five retail stores in the area—accounting for about 20 percent of sales. Three are under the Moore's Tire name and two go by Reid's Tires.

Mr. Watkins, a nearly 30-year Moore's veteran, was its general manager when he purchased it from the Moore brothers in 2009. “I could see (the owners) didn't have a succession plan in place, I had been in the wholesale business for 27 years and I knew it was something I really enjoyed,” he said. “And I could see many opportunities to grow the business.”

On the front end, his role with the company hasn't changed much, as he continues to deal with customers on a day-to-day basis. But he said dealing with things like insurance, workers compensation and taxes can make running his own business “stressful at times.” Despite this, he said he still enjoys working with his employees and the “daily challenges.”
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