GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas — After 25 years of operating under the name Rent-A-Wheel/Rent-A-Tire, it was time for a change.
In May, the transformation became a reality, and RAW Wheels + Tires debuted as the company's new name.
Grand Prairie-based RAW Wheels + Tires specializes in custom rims and tires and offers a rent-to-own program for its customers. The company said the program provides a lot of flexibility to consumers and is especially beneficial for those who may not have the best credit or are of lower income.
It allows for more time to afford the product without worrying about interest rates.
The inclusion of digital marketing was the primary catalyst for the name change, according to RAW President Matt Seaburn, who has been with the company since 2006.
The company began as Rent-A-Wheel, and as expansion began, it acquired Rent-A-Tire. As the company grew, it became too expensive to consolidate the names, so the Rent-A-Wheel/Rent-A-Tire combined name was deemed the best option.
This became too limiting when marketing online. It became apparent the name was both too big and too small at the same time, Seaburn said.
"When you have a storefront, and that storefront has people passing it and they see something like Rent-A-Tire, they can see the store and the product and understand what's happening much easier," he said. "When you're on e-commerce, they don't necessarily see that."
He said the previous name "was too long to advertise digitally. It was also too small since it was very limiting to what we do. Do we only rent tires? Do we only rent wheels? So, we decided to avoid the confusion and go with RAW Wheels + Tires."
With their retail business outpacing its rent-to-own business, the word "rent" became too small of a box to contain the services the company offers.
With 130 locations in 15 states, the rollout has been a process, Seaburn said. The initial rollout began with emailing contacts in the firm's database, and then work on the stores' interior began, including signage and the hats and shirts employees wear.
The exterior branding has, by far, been the slowest part of the process.
"We've been slower to move on the exterior branding because we don't want to change things on customers who haven't heard about the rebranding too quickly, but we're slowly rolling our RAW Wheels + Tires on the exterior of the buildings as well," Seaburn said. "We will slowly take off the old brand over the next year or two."
The change has been almost solidified in online branding, however, as Seaburn said the company has been pushing RAW Wheels + Tires digitally.
"All our blogging, keyword search ads and display ads show RAW Wheels + Tires, then next to that we'll say, 'By Rent-A-Wheel/Rent-A-Tire,' " he said.
RAW Wheels + Tires customers have been receptive to the change, Seaburn said, crediting that to repeat customers, composing around 40% of their total customers. Their biggest question has been, "Can I get a t-shirt?"
Much like the rest of the industry, RAW's revenue has held on, but the money isn't there quite like it was in 2020 and 2021, largely due to inflation.
Despite this, the company continues to expand, recently opening locations in Tallahassee, Fla., and Oklahoma City, with 10 to 12 stores set to open within the next 12 months.