WILLISTON, Vt. — VIP Tires & Service has acquired a retail store in Williston, Vt., its first in the Green Mountain State, expanding the dealership's network to 58 retail locations throughout Northern New England.
VIP, which in late August opened the company's 19th store in New Hampshire, purchased a former NTB Tire & Service Center in Williston, a 9,000-sq.-ft., eight-bay facility. Williston is a community of about 10,000 in the greater Burlington, Vt., metro area.
Tim Winkeler, president and chief operating officer of VIP, said expanding into Vermont has been part of the dealership's strategic plan for a while.
"We knew this was the right location for VIP because it is a large population center that is close to our primary auto parts provider and the company that warehouses our tires, making servicing our customers easier and efficient." Mr. Winkeler said.
Erik R. Olsen, president and CEO of TBC Corp., which operates the NTB Tire & Service Center brand, said TBC and VIP have had a strong partnership, "and I have had the opportunity to work with John for many years.
“As TBC and VIP continue our working relationship, we are confident that our decision to sell our Williston, Vt., NTB location to VIP supports the strategic interest of both entities," Mr. Olsen said, "and we know that John and his team will continue to provide the community with the exceptional service that they deserve.”
VIP began operations at the site on Oct. 2. The company said it will renovate the location in the spring.
The store will operate Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
A family-run business for 93 years, VIP now has 35 locations in Maine, 19 locations in New Hampshire and three locations in Massachusetts in addition to the new store in Vermont.
John Quirk, owner and chairman of Auburn, Maine-based VIP, said, "VIP has several stores along the New Hampshire northern border and we are very excited to open our first store in Vermont."
VIP has retained the eight employees at the location; Nick Sirois will continue as store manager. VIP said it will add at least one master ASE technician to the existing team, allowing customers the ability to have all their automotive work done at one location.
According to VIP, all of its locations offer full-service automotive repair, maintenance and tire shop, including brake repair, preventative maintenance, muffler and exhaust repair, multi-point vehicle inspections, wheel alignments, state inspections and oil changes.
"At VIP, our mission is to earn an automotive customer for life," Mr. Quirk said. "We do that by having highly trained technicians who enjoy helping people … Many people think our business is a transactional business, but it's not, it's about relationships."
Mr. Winkeler said VIP is not done growing.
"We plan to continue to grow our store footprint each year, either through acquisition or by building new stores from the ground-up so that we can make it as easy as possible for Northern New Englanders to turn to VIP for the most reliable tire and automotive services," he said.
At 58 locations, VIP ranks as the fourth largest independent tire dealership in New England and 19th largest in the U.S., according to Tire Business' annual ranking of the top 100 dealerships in North America.