SANFORD, Maine — VIP Tires & Service Inc. has relocated its store in Sanford to a larger facility nearby.
Auburn, Maine-based VIP Tires has converted a former Bonanza Steakhouse into a 9,750-sq.-ft. retail dealership, more than tripling the space VIP had at its previous Sanford location, which is located diagonally across an intersection from the new building.
The new VIP Sanford store features eight service bays — double that of the previous location — on-site storage for 2,000-plus tires, a customer waiting area with a laptop bar and customer refreshment center, employee lounge, employee locker room, three bathrooms and a manager's office. The facility opened on Sept. 23.
VIP Tires President Tim Winkeler said the company is "proud" to open a new location "to meet the automotive needs of this thriving Maine community.
"Sanford is one of the fastest-growing towns in Maine, and this new larger facility is ready for action," Winkeler said VIP's growth will contribute to the economic development in this region brought about by new jobs and career opportunities."
Sanford is a town of 22,000 residents in southern Maine about 50 miles north of the Massachusetts border.
The location also has a real-time Hunter Engineering Co. alignment information color monitor in the showroom, a Hunter quick tread and quick machine, a training/conference room and nearly 100 parking spaces.
"The southern Maine market is growing quickly, and we need a lot more room to adequately service the customer base of this growing community," Winkeler said.
The location has seven employees currently, but VIP said that number will grow to 10 in 2023.
Winkler noted that O'Reilly Auto Parts, which shared the previous building with VIP, will renovate the old building of 7,000 square feet and add more parts to their inventory, "which will be great for VIP and its customers." O'Reilly leases the facility from VIP.
In its 96th year of operation, VIP operates 66 retail stores throughout New England, employing about 600.
According to Tire Business calculations, VIP ranks as the fourth largest independent dealership in New England and the 20th largest in the U.S., with 35 locations in Maine, 20 locations in Massachusetts, six in New Hampshire and four in Vermont. Another shop is slated to open in November in Bennington, Vt.