Several local tire retailers in southeastern Pennsylvania think they’ve figured out how to fend off competition from Pep Boys, Discount Tire, Sears and other major tire sellers of the world: Form one brand.
Seventeen locally owned tire retailers in Pennsylvania’s Delaware Valley have banded together to form United Tire & Service LLC, which recently became the name of all 17 stores. Though the stores are still independently owned, the partnership under the United Tire umbrella allows them to negotiate lower prices with tire manufacturers such as Goodyear, Pirelli and Dunlop; collectively advertise their stores; and even use the same web site, UnitedTire.com, to showcase their products. Essentially, the partnership allows locally owned tire stores to get some of the same benefits that much larger competitors have.
“We are now able to compete and win with every major national tire center chain without compromising our mission to not only meet our customers’ expectations but to exceed them,” Ken Sylvester, president of United Tire, told Modern Tire Dealer.
Some of the small tire retailers were already working together to negotiate prices and share accounting for several years. But growing competition from major tire retailers in their area still made it difficult to compete, and many small tire dealers in their area were being eaten up by large competitors. That’s why the 17 retailers decided they needed to rebrand themselves under one name that’s recognizable by consumers.
Local retailers banding together in some fashion is not that unusual: Some retailers have even moved in together to reduce costs and create the impression of a larger operation. But by creating one identity, United Tire retailers hope customers will see them as a chain store with all the benefits of working with a large brand.
“We hope this real life David and Goliath story inspires other small business owners to hold their own against industry conglomerates,” Sylvester says.
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