Since K&M Tire acquired Universal Cooperatives’ Triton Tire & Battery division in November 2010, the company has been on a steady growth track. Most recently, the Delphos, Ohio-based wholesaler purchased assets of Don’s Tire in Cross Plains, Wis.
And at its annual tire dealer marketing group meeting, held last week in Las Vegas, K&M shared its plans for adding distribution centers, expanding its Mr. Tire network and launching a Mr. Tire affiliated program in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Georgia.
K&M, which services thousands of customers over 17 states stretching from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico with the heaviest concentration in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and Nebraska plans to add three DCs in 2012. While exact locations have not been decided, K&M Sales Manager Jon Schadl said the warehouses will expand the company’s reach within its existing territory, mainly in the west, in the area acquired in the Triton deal.
The company’s Mr. Tire program has seen rapid growth: One year ago there were 191 Mr. Tire dealers, while today there are 278. K&M estimates the Mr. Tire marketing group will encompass 403 dealers by this time next year.
K&M will place much emphasis on online branding and marketing in 2012, including a new website and mobile-friendly site for the Mr. Tire program, according to Jeff Wallick, program manager. The site will allow visitors to search for tires by vehicle and size; offer a dealer locator; and provide links to Mr. Tire’s social media pages. New for program members is a pre-built website provided by K&M that individual dealers can customize based on the brands they sell.
Mr. Tire dealers will continue to have access to nationwide tire road hazard and service warranty programs; vendor parts programs; social media management and search engine optimization support; vendor oil programs; POP materials; and the company’s signage program. Announced at this year’s meeting is a partnership with AskPatty.com for a training and marketing program in which tire dealers can become certified female friendly. Mr. Tire dealers will have discounted access to AskPatty.com’s program.
The new affiliated program which cannot carry the Mr. Tire name due to a naming rights agreement Triton held with Monro Muffler Brake in Indiana, Ohio and Georgia will launch by the second quarter of 2012. All program offers and benefits will be identical to the Mr. Tire program, Schadl noted. At its launch, the Mr. Tire affiliate program will encompass 25 dealers in Ohio, plus 45 in Michigan, 15 in Indiana and 35 in Georgia.
So, just how big does K&M plan to become? President Ken Langhals explained there’s no set goal, but growth is sure to continue. “We’re so much bigger than I ever imagined we would be, so there isn’t an end goal in mind,” he said. “I do see us continuing to grow, but it’ll be a controlled growth. It’s very important to have controlled growth so you can keep a handle on everything to make sure all your processes and procedures are right so we can continue to service customers like we should.”
Vice President Cheryl Gossard said K&M doesn’t have true nationwide ambitions, but wants to continue strengthening its presence in the Midwest and surrounding areas and grow the Mr. Tire program so it’s more recognized by the public.
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