One thing about an anniversary is it allows the opportunity to step back and reflect on the past.
We're doing that in this issue, and also taking a look forward, as Tire Business recognizes its 30th anniversary as a publication and online portal for tire dealers and the tire industry, both in the U.S. and worldwide.
A lot has changed since Tire Business launched on April 11, 1983, as an eight-page newspaperwith no advertising and an audience of 3,000 readers.
At the time, I think the idea was to start small and test the market to see if dealers and the industry would embrace a news-driven publication published twice as frequently as the monthly tire magazines.
It took a while, but Tire Business steadily gained acceptance.
Since its inception it has become a must-read for thousands of industry professionals wanting to keep pace with the news, trends, changes and opportunities in the retail and commercial tire business, the automotive service segment, tire distribution, retreading and suppliers to the industry, including the biggest of them alltire manufacturing.
We have covered some fascinating stories over the years. The one that always stands out in my mind is corporate raider, the late Sir James Goldsmith's run at Goodyear in 1986, with the aim of restructuring the company and selling off its non-core assets.
It was an exciting story. It had international intrigue, huge financial implications for Goodyear, its shareholders and Mr. Goldsmith. It stirred powerful emotions, particularly among Goodyear dealers and the city of Akron, and had the potential of dramatically changing the fortunes of one of the world's largest and most admired tire companies.
But there have been many other stories, too.
Goodyear's decision to add Sears to its distribution network, expanding it beyond its own stores and independent tire dealers, is another. That move opened the floodgates for dealerships to take on a multi-brand portfolio of tires, changing tire retailing and dealer loyalties to their tire suppliers forever.
Then there was the recall of millions of Firestone Wilderness ATX, ATX II and Wildness AT tires in the early 2000s, which led to the federal Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act. One of the outcomes of that legislation was the requirement that tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) be fitted on all passenger cars.
More recently, the decision by the Obama Administration in 2009 to place three-year's worth of high tariffs on Chinese-made passenger and light truck tires imported into the U.S. led to all kinds of difficulties for tire makers, importers and retailers alike. It's an issue that still draws strident debate, no matter the side you come down on.
Over the years, Tire Business also delved deep into many topics, the granddaddy of which was the tribute issue commemorating the 100th anniversary of the pneumatic tire in 1988.
That special issue, and the tremendous editorial effort behind it, stands as a symbol of the commitment and determination the Tire Business editorial staff has to its readers.
For 30 years, the readers of Tire Business have been our first priority. While much has changed over the past three decades, that's the one thing that still takes precedence as we embark on the next 30.
Mr. Zielasko is editor and VP/publisher of Tire Business. He has worked at the publication for nearly 29 years.