RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. — While California residents endured a deluge of rain at the start of the year, Mountain View Tire & Service Inc. enjoyed a deluge of tire sales.
The very rainy winter season produced "a really good first three months of the year, specifically January and February were phenomenal," Mountain View Vice President Chris Mitsos said.
"What happens in Southern California, as people's tires get balder and balder, they don't know it because their grip is fine (on dry pavement). In fact their grip's getting better as you're going down the road as the tire flattens out and doesn't have any tread left on it.
- This article appears in the June 24 print edition of Tire Business.
"But as soon as there's moisture on the ground, it becomes a big, big issue. So that's why we get such a rush of people when we get a lot of rain here," he said.
Sales slowed down a bit in the spring, and Mr. Mitsos said the dealership's sales for the first five months are about even with the same period last year.
He said he couldn't predict how the rest of the year will fair, noting that California has its own micro-economy.
"It doesn't matter what's going on in the rest of the country. We kind of march to the beat of a different drummer here," he said. Rising gas prices impacted business in the spring as consumers cut back on miles driven. In June, consumers increased their spending as gas prices decreased, he said.
"We noticed a distinct difference in our dollar-per-invoice today than where we were at even last June and the previous couple of months. For us, consumer spending is up," Mr. Mitsos said.
"We saw a direct impact as gas got up to and over $4 and as much as $5 a gallon in Los Angeles. We really saw the impact in our business, specifically in April and beginning of May."
Mountain View Tire, which operates 30 retail stores throughout Southern California with plans to open one more in September, believes its size helps it be less susceptible to market conditions. "So I don't see big problems for the second half," Mr. Mitsos said.