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The "Mickey D's' of retreading?

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CRESTWOOD, Ill.—”You kind of have to picture it like a McDonald's drive-through—how busy we are here at Crestwood, and we anticipate the same thing there,” said Thomas Accomando, president of TM Tires Co., about his decision to add a retread plant in New Lenox, Ill.

Mr. Accomando told Tire Business the new plant location should be up and running by June 1, starting with about 20 employees operating on one shift. He plans on expanding through the next year and a half, adding shifts and increasing the employee roster to about 70.

Crestwood-based TM Tires is spending $3 million to renovate an existing 24,000-sq.-ft., 28-year-old building to suit its purposes.

“We've already remodeled the interior of the building 100 percent,” Mr. Accomando said. “And then the front facade of the building will be changed also to make it more customer-friendly.”

He said the next stage of development is to get approval for a street widening project to “make sure we can adapt to our truck traffic for easy access in and out of the building.”

Mr. Accomando said the firm is working with the Illinois Department of Transportation, the county and the city on the project and has received verbal affirmation that the project should not be a problem, but the dealership is waiting for the official go-ahead.

The company's Crestwood facility has 70 employees in the retread plant and about 25 in the commercial and retail parts of the business. Mr. Accomando said retread production in the New Lenox facility will start off slowly, increasing to “right around 3,800 tires per week” when total capacity is reached.

TM Tires uses the Hawkinson mold cure and precure retreading system—with CIMA S.p.A. presses and chambers—which will be used in the New Lenox location, as well.

Mr. Accomando said the Crestwood plant is producing slightly more than 2,100 tires a week.

“...(O)f all the ones that we are producing,” he said, “we are selling everything,...and because we're at capacity with what we're doing, we needed another facility.”

Mr. Accomando added that the addition is in the best interest of both his customers and employees. He said he wanted to open more opportunities for his employees, who are mostly between the ages of 25 and 38.

“It gives them better opportunities for their future,” he said. “They're very much engaged in their jobs.... And it's been a very good career for me.

“And I feel, why not pass it on to the next generation and let them enjoy what I have?”

The New Lenox location is easily accessible from Interstate 80, which “has real, real heavy commercial traffic,” Mr. Accomando said, adding: “It's within one minute of the expressway exit and entrance. So it's really conveniently located for expressway access off of I-80.

“And then if you go to the south of that facility, there's a real large industrial complex back there.”

He said TM Tires tries to accommodate the needs of its wide range of customers that include intermodal, construction and smaller contractors, such as golf courses, municipalities and school districts.

“And one of the reasons we've been so successful is, whatever our customer wants, we will fit their need to design whatever it is,” Mr. Accomando said.

“We even go as far as taking their computer programs for their billing systems and we'll alter and change anything we have to, to accommodate them and make it as easy as possible for them.”

The Crestwood plant runs from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. and the New Lenox location will operate from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mr. Accomando said he thinks the location will eventually increase hours of operation as production grows.

Mr. Accomando said he wants to expand the company's footprint into Indiana by adding a location in the bordering state within three years.



To reach this reporter: jkarpus@crain.com; 330-865-6143.
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