LOS ANGELESScher Tire, a fixture in the Southern California automotive scene for the past 32 years, is no more.
Certified Tire & Service Centers Inc. and ATV Inc./American Tire Depot have taken over and reopened 14 of the 17 Scher Tire locations in the Los Angeles metro area that closed late last year after the death of Scher Tire founder Bruce Scher Dec. 5 at age 56.
The dealership's 13-store Superior Tire Inc. operation in Las Vegas also closed abruptly Dec. 17, putting 81 employees out of work. New owners have since reopened 10 of those stores.
The 17 Scher Tire stores in California closed in late December. Certified Tire reopened the 10 stores it acquired in January.
The abrupt demise of Scher Tire so quickly after Mr. Scher's death is as yet unexplained. Numerous attempts by Tire Business to reach Scher Tire and Scher family representatives for comment were unsuccessful.
Riverside, Calif.-based Certified Tire and Cerritos, Calif.-based A.T.V. declined to comment on the details of the deals they struck to take over the locations they acquired.
Scher Tire's website was still active as of mid-July, showing the dealership's locations in California and Nevada.
One source did say there were no bankruptcy proceedings involved, a fact borne out by Tire Business' independent checks of bankruptcy court archives in California.
Before Mr. Scher's death and the subsequent closing of the dealership's stores, Scher Tire was considered the 32nd largest independent tire dealership in the U.S. with 30 stores.
Certified Tire took over 10 storesin Chino Hills, Corona (two stores), Huntington Beach, Long Beach, Moreno Valley, Riverside (two), San Dimas and Tustinwhile ATV reopened stores in Long Beach, Rosemead, Santa Ana and Stanton.
The addition of the former Scher Tire locations expands Certified Tire's network to 41 storesgood for a top 25 ranking among U.S. independent tire dealers. A message on Certified Tire's website welcomes Scher Tire's customers.
ATV now operates 53 American Tire Depot locations, stretching from Modesto north of Los Angeles to Murrieta to the south.
Former tire dealer Bob Kaufman plans to reopen the former Scher store in Costa Mesa in August as All-Pro Tire, while the fate of a third Riverside store and the Upland store is not known.
In Las Vegas, new investors, operating as Nevada Tire Holdings L.L.C. in Henderson, Nev., have stepped in and reopened 10 of the stores, using the Superior Tire name. Two more may follow yet this year, the dealership said.
The new owners have re-established Superior Tire as a Goodyear-authorized retailer and allied with the Goodyear Tires & Service automotive maintenance and repair network.
Among those involved in the re-establishment of Superior Tire are:
c Richard Warburton, corporate manager, who has worked for Goodyear for more than 30 years, according to his bio on the Superior Tire website. He worked with Scher Tire for a number of years, as well.
c Shane Ely, district manager, who has worked for a number of major tire dealerships but is proud to call Goodyear his home, his Web bio reads.
c Bill Walls, commercial operations, whose bio noted he has more than 40 years' industry experience.
The reopening of Superior Tire is the fifth time ownership of the chain has changed hands in the past 15 years.
In 1998, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.-based Mountain View Tire & Service Inc.in partnership with TBC Corp.took over 13 Superior Tire stores in Las Vegas from then-owner Marlo Reamer. TBC took over two stores and converted them to Big O Tires outlets.
Mountain View Tire ran the business until 2003, when it opted out of its deal with TBC and Goodyear to operate the chain.
TBC took over managing the 16 stores at that point, but it took just a few months to find a new investorMr. Scher, who agreed to take over nine locations. He renamed the business Scher-Superior Tire and over time opened four other stores in the area.
TBC converted the other seven stores to Big O franchised locations.
Mr. Scher was born and raised in Santa Ana, Calif., according to his biography on the Scher Tire website. His family owned and operated an automotive business in the 1970s in Los Angeles, where he worked through his adolescence.
He later worked at a new car dealership before being hired as an auto technician by Goodyear at the company's Santa Ana retail store.
With the backing of his family, the bio states, Mr. Scher opened his first store in 1981 at age 25, taking over an undeperforming four-bay Goodyear company store in Artesia, Calif.
He died Dec. 5 at his home in Murrieta, Calif. He is survived by his three children, Carrie, Laura and Thomas, according to the obituary published in the Press-Enterprise.
In addition to his business, Mr. Scher collected rare coins and operated a vineyard and avocado farm at his home in Murrieta, the obituary stated.
To reach this reporter: [email protected]; 330-865-6145.