Carruthers took over the dealership in 1992 from his father-in-law Kenneth Wood, who bought the West Bridgewater Public Library building for $1 in 1962. It was a former schoolhouse built in the 1870s, which was slated for demolition. He moved the building about a half-mile down the street and established Kenwood Tire.
Since reducing the number of vehicle services the dealership offers, Carruthers said he refers such things as "check engine," fluid leaks and other diagnostic services to other shops in the area.
"In return, it's really increased our alignment business because they refer a lot of people here, too. So it's kind of a good thing in the end," he said, noting the dealership generated $1.3 million in sales last year.
He said he suspended vehicle repairs because the technology has become so advanced.
"It scares the hell out of me. The tools are so expensive and the technicians are so expensive, and they are just hard to find, too. So that was part of the reason why I just didn't want to do it. You can't do it if you can't do it properly."
The shop has remained profitable despite its limited menu of services, he said.
"Our tire sales just jumped through the roof because that's what we concentrate on. We've always had a decent inventory here. I'm pretty knowledgeable over 30 years, become knowledgeable about tires. And you build up a lot of relationships with people. We just never capitalized on those opportunities before, such as small fleets, because we were just bogged down with trying to fix cars and intake manifold leaks and all that kind of crap.
"Now it's focused. I know how long it takes to do jobs. I know it takes an hour to do an alignment, an hour for tires. So it's easier to schedule. It's easier to be more efficient when you know how long stuff takes. For a fluid leak, it could be 20 minutes or it could be three hours, you just don't know. That's the stressful part of it for me," Carruthers said.
Kenwood Tire spends very little on advertising — about $13,000 last year.
"We don't need to. Word of mouth, once you get that ball rolling and keep taking care of people, they tell their friends. That's just going to keep propagating itself," he said.
Kenwood Tire used to cater to high-performance vehicle owners but now services a wide spectrum of customers and vehicles.
"I always thought those (high-end customers) were the ones to get because the tires were the most expensive, but not necessarily. The older you get, you realize that the person you just gave free air to may tell his family you did that, and the next minute the son comes in and buys four tires from you.
"You just don't know the connections people have with each other outside of here," Carruthers said.
Kenwood Tire sells tires that fit a range of vehicles from trailers to light trucks. In addition to carrying several major tire brands, such as Michelin and Continental, he stocks an inexpensive private label tire.
He said he believes customers have become more brand conscious and research their tire choices before they buy.
"I don't try to sell people out of what they've made their mind up on. … I feel like I'm just the middle guy doing the service, making sure those tires ride beautifully when they leave. That's what we take pride in," he said.