Throughout its 35-year history, the traditional quick-lube and automotive service business has done only a small amount of tire sales "just as a convenience to our customer," Mr. Brooks said.
"We would do tires because we had tire-changing equipment and lifts and alignment in some of our stores to offer those services, but we have never focused on being in the tire business historically."
Thus far, the additional business has been a success for Express Oil, as the company exceeded its tire sales projections in the first few months by about 400 percent, Mr. Brooks said. It also boosted business overall.
"We got the last six stores done in December. We did 14 (stores) in July and August, and those 14 stores were up about 16 percent on a same-store sales basis in the last five months of the year," he said. "We were up almost 9 percent in the balance of the stores, so we had a very good year in 2013 anyway."
Tire sales still were not a significant portion of the company's total sales volume, coming in at "significantly less than 10 percent," Mr. Brooks noted, but he said the results have been promising.
"A lot of that growth came as it has year-over-year from the oil change and the mechanical service department. It's just that we were fairly conservative in our projections on what the tire model would do because we had no experience with it, and we blew those projections out."