AUBURN, Maine — VIP Tires & Service opened a retail store in Brookline, Mass., Nov. 12, expanding the Auburn-based dealership's network to 61 stores throughout New England, including five in Massachusetts.
The new store, a converted five-bay location formerly operated by Liner Tire, is VIP's first in what's considered "Boston proper." VIP renovated the 9,000-sq.-ft. property inside and out and has room on site to store up to 2,000 tires. Three of the five bays have double lifts, expanding the service capacity.
Brookline is a town of nearly 60,000 that's considered part of Boston proper, bordering six other Boston suburban neighborhoods — Allston, Brighton, Fenway-Kenmore, Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill and West Roxbury.
"VIP has experienced a lot of growth in 2020, and we're excited that Brookline is part of that expansion," VIP Tires President and CEO Tim Winkeler said.
"With humble Maine roots, it's important for our business to invest in the communities we serve," he said. "We do this by renovating old buildings and hiring within the community, and that's just what we did to make the Brookline opening a reality."
VIP's other stores in Massachusetts are in Billerica, Framingham, Lawrence and Watertown.
Jovani LeJuene, a Boston-area resident and veteran auto service store employee, is the service manager for the store, which will have a staff of nine when fully staffed.
Earlier, VIP opened a store in Vermont in October — its second in the Green Mountain State — and relocated a store in Windham, Maine, to an upgraded location on property adjacent to the former store on the north side of Windham, a town of 17,000 just north of Portland on the Atlantic Cost.
The new store in Rutland, Vt., is a renovated Vianor Tire property with five service bays and on-site storage for 2,000 tires. It's located on State Route 4 south of downtown Rutland, a city of about 16,500 in central Vermont. VIP held a ribbon-cutting on Oct. 7.
"We recognized a valuable opportunity to expand our footprint and, after doing some research, felt that Rutland was the perfect community to grow in," Mr. Winkeler said, noting that VIP's first store in Vermont opened in 2018 in Williston.
"… when this former Vianor Tire facility in Rutland became available, we knew it was the right time to bring our unique and customer-focused approach to tires and service to this market," he said.
VIP has adopted a policy of maintaining large tire inventories on-site in order to reduce wait times and provide a broad array of tire brands and price points.
The open concept customer waiting area features a laptop bar with multiple seats and individual plug-ins, a beverage bar, and a TV sitting area.
Russell Gilman, who VIP said is "a well-respected auto service professional in the community," will manage Rutland store. He'll be part of a nine-person staff.
In Windham, VIP relocated its store to an adjoining property, where it renovated 2,600-sq.-ft. former Tim Horton's site and added a 7,400-sq.-ft. service center.
With 61 retail locations, VIP Tires is the fourth largest independent tire dealership/auto service company in New England and No. 21 in the U.S. Most of the stores are co-branded with O'Reilly Auto Parts.