Formerly owned by Nokian Tyres, the Vianor Tire Center stores are located in New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Massachusetts. The stores add to Gills Point S Tire’s 17 existing stores in Oregon.
“Point S has a great and growing relationship with Nokian Tyres,” says Eric Gill, president and CEO of Gills Point S Tire & Auto Service. “When the opportunity arose to take over the Vianor stores, we thought it would be the perfect time to bring the Point S Tire & Auto name into a new market.”
With this acquisition, Gills Point S Tire & Auto Service looks to build on their success in Oregon with a complimentary model in the northeast, Point S says. Gill said that his northeast stores have supply agreements lined up with national and regional wholesalers, and have the ability to buy direct from manufacturers, under the Point S umbrella.
Currently, Point S USA operates four distribution centers across the U.S. serving 240 locations owned by 160 members nationwide. Before the acquisition, a majority of Point S USA stores were located in the west and southern U.S.
“Adding 10 stores in the northeast is important to us because our vision is ultimately to be nationwide, and getting that foothold in a territory that’s difficult to access is super important for us,” said Walter Lybeck, CEO of Point S, in an interview with Tire Review. “Especially from a strong dealer like Eric, who’s going to really push a great name out there for us and support our brand. It’ll help us long term as we grow in the northeast.”
Lybeck added that Point S is looking forward to the opportunities this growth creates for other independents in the U.S. who wish to join the co-op.
“We see this as an opportunity to go and introduce ourselves to dealers,” he said. “It all starts with first showing 10 strongly branded Point S stores with great marketing and great customer service.”
Gills’ acquisition of Vianor will add to Point S’s international growth, with the group currently operating in 38 countries with over 5,500 locations worldwide. Point S said the acquisition will also further strengthen a close partnership between Point S USA and Point S Canada.
“Our long term goal with Point S Canada is really cross-border connections and marketing,” Lybeck said. ” We’ve always been on the west coast. They’ve always been on the east coast. Our goal long term collectively is to have essentially one Point S network in all of North America where the borders aren’t as relevant, and these stores are fantastic… They’re right next to Canada and will allow us to take advantage of some cross-border promotions and some other things that we’d like to pursue in the near future.”
Point S says Vianor U.S. has operated throughout the Northeast since 2007, when it acquired five locations of Goss Tire Company. For Gill, the addition of these stores to his existing locations allows him to duplicate his business model in a similar market.
“The New England market is really almost identical to the Oregon market where the Vianor stores were rural stores and in smaller towns, and
that’s the primary footprint of my locations,” Gill said. “For me, it made a lot of sense, because that’s where we thrived and have done very well.”
Point S says all Vianor service centers will be staying open and service center employees will remain on staff. The Vianor locations will be rebranded to the Gills Point S Tire & Auto Service name and will join the Point S Tire & Auto co-op.