CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif.Coker Group opened a 100,000-sq.-ft. tire and wheel distribution center early this year in City of Industry with the goal of improving service to customers in the western U.S. as well as for export through West Coast ports.
A portion of the center is devoted to manufacturing the firm's classic and vintage steel and wire wheels, Coker said. The facility opened with 40 employees.
The facility replaces a 15,000-sq.-ft. center in Fresno, Calif., that Coker used for several years.
Coker Tire sold the Fresno building to Mike and Sherrie Stallings, the former owners of the custom wheel maker Wheel Vintiques Inc., in late 2011 after Coker had acquired the assets of Wheel Vintiques from them.
The Chattanooga, Tenn.-based specialist in vintage tires and wheels held a grand-opening gala attended by local dignitaries, elected government officials and automotive celeb-rities, including City of Industry Mayor Tim Spohn who presented Coker Group owner Corky Coker with a proclamation from the city.
The distribution center also houses a small collection of vintage cars, motorcycles and assorted automobilia on view to the public, Coker said. The company planned to hold regular visitor tours of the mini museum as well as guided tours of its wheel production facility, where enthusiasts can watch their wheels being made.
Commenting on his decision to set up a West Coast base, Mr. Coker said: While so many companies in the automotive aftermarket seem to be leaving California, we at Coker Group intentionally chose California with its huge automobile culture, availability of skilled work force, not to mention year round convertible weather.