SOUTH BEND, Ind.Belle Tire Inc. will expand its retail footprint this summer southward into Indiana, with two locations being built in South Bend and one in Mishawaka.
These stores, set to open in late summer or early fall, will be Belle's first new locations outside of Michigan in 30 years, when the Allen Park, Mich.-based dealership opened its first stores in northwestern Ohio.
The new stores are 10,000-sq.-ft. locations with 10 service bays, two full-alignment pits and a mezzanine warehouse built to hold more than 3,000 tires, Belle Tire said, and will require the hiring of more than 50 employees in these adjoining communities.
We're the new kids in town, and we understand the importance of not just opening our doors for business, but truly embedding ourselves as members of the Indiana community, said Don Barnes III, president of retail operations.
We are so proud to hire our new local teams and help employ some of the area's best technicians, mechanics, salespeople and other automotive professionals.
Financial aspects of the expansion are not being disclosed. Belle said it will promote itself as a one-stop shop for customers with allied services, such as auto glass repair and replacement, in addition to tires and automotive services.
The dealership will incorporate customer-centric aspects of its new store design concept at the Indiana stores, including Wi-Fi and charging stations for wireless devices.
Our showroom design allows us the opportunity to provide the great service our customers expect, Mr. Barnes said. It also allows them to be productive away from home or the office as Belle Tire services their vehicle.
Belle said it chose the South Bend area for its first stores in Indiana because it's a natural extension of its presence in western Michigan and the sites themselves are close to nearby expressways.
The store in northwest South Bend is scheduled to open first, Belle said. Construction has begun on the site and is expected to take 90 to 120 days to complete.
Work also has started on the Mishawaka location, Belle Tire said, where demolition of a former restaurant at that site has been completed.
The third store, on the south side of South Bend, will be the last to open, Belle said, as demolition work on two houses and a commercial property are still in preparation.
The new stores will expand Belle Tire's network to 95 stores, including four commercial-only locations, and are in addition to a network-wide remodeling scheme designed to give all of its retail stores in Michigan and Ohio a fresh look by 2018.