NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Bridgestone Americas Inc.'s GCR Tires & Service (GCR) subsidiary closed 17 stores and three retread plants in Canada earlier this year as part of an ongoing evaluation of its "operating model."
Since then, however, GCR has found buyers for three stores and one retread plant. The locations closed were all in Quebec, during January, Bridgestone said.
The company has sold stores in Baie-Comeau, La Malbaie and Roberval, Quebec, along with a retread plant in Farnham, Quebec.
GCR did not identify the buyer or buyers of the stores, but Pneus Metro Inc. of Montreal confirmed recently it has taken over the Farnham plant and is in the process of reopening it and expanding the location to accommodate new tire sales and vehicle servicing as well, according to Robert Marvento, company president.
In a statement, Bridgestone said it "is continually evaluating its operating model to ensure it is aligned with the needs of customers across North America.
"Throughout the process of the closures, we have kept the best interest of our teammates at the forefront of every decision we have made."
Bridgestone did not disclose costs associated with the closings nor say how many employees were affected.
According to the GCR website, the closed depots are in: Alma; Amos, Boucherville; Chicoutimi, Dorval; Drummondville; Granby; Jonquière; Quebec City (Bandag/OTR retread plant); Rimouski; Riviere Du Loup; Trois-Rivieres; and Victoriaville.
GCR continues to service customers at three mining site locations in Quebec, in Chibougamau, Rouyn-Noranda and Val-d'Or, as well as in Sudbury, Ontario, and at three sites in Ontario and 13 locations in the Maritime Provinces, including two Bandag-system retread plants.
For Pneus Metro, buying the Farnham plant is part of a broader expansion, Mr. Marvento said, that includes opening a greenfield commercial sales and service depot in Quebec City.
Pneus Metro hopes to have both the retread plant and new depot open within the next several weeks, Mr. Marvento said. The Farnham plant will supply retreads primarily to Pneus Metro's existing service point in Sherbrooke, Quebec, which is about 60 miles east of Farnham.
Pneus Metro's headquarters, retread plant and primary sales depot is in North Montreal. Mr. Marvento said the Farnham plant is smaller than the Montreal plant at about 14,000 retreads a year under GCR.
"We see this as a true growth opportunity," Mr. Marvento said.
The company is both a Bridgestone/Firestone and Michelin Alliance dealership on the new tire side.
Bridgestone has been active in the commercial tire servicing business in Canada since 1986 when it acquired Canadian Tire & Repair. It bought Crown Tire Atlantic two years later and Pardy's Tires in 1990 and put them all under the GCR name in 2002.
GCR also pared back operations in the U.S. last year, selling six locations, in Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania, to Wilkes-Barre, Pa.-based McCarthy Tire Service Inc., leaving the Bridgestone unit with 155 locations in the U.S.
The GCR name is derived from the names of the business' founders — Balie Griffith, Harold Crawford and Perry Rose — who opened their first location in 1945 in Odessa, Texas. Bridgestone bought the business in 1988.