Rethinking the Tire Store - Tire Review Magazine

Rethinking the Tire Store

Here’s a challenge for you: Close your eyes and think about your retail tire space from a consumer’s eyes. Now what do you see?

Is it a typical store? Does it follow the same overdone formula with a Great Wall of China service counter, dusty tire displays along the front, poor lighting and a waiting area populated by uncomfortable chairs and months-old magazines? Are the restrooms at least clean or is everything grungy, dirty and old? Even the coffee?

That may seem harsh, but we all know that consumers already dread getting their car fixed and aren’t very fond of having to buy four new tires. The way a location looks and feels only adds to that despair. A customer’s perception may be wrong or right, but wouldn’t you rather wow them and change their notions?

Tire Review enlisted a group of interior design students at Kent State University and gave them a challenge – reinvent the tire store. Think about the space from your perspective, about what look and features would both appeal to you as both a customer and as a human being, and perhaps help change the definition of “tire store” in the minds of all consumers.

Students rose to the challenge and delivered designs and concepts for tire stores in which people would be more than happy to spend their time. They even challenged the idea that a tire store could only ever be just a tire store. And they laid out an interesting technology challenge for tire companies – develop a video game-like simulator where customers could “test drive” tire options in a variety of real-world conditions – without ever leaving the showroom.

Over the next few pages are several student designs. Larger images and additional designs will be available on Tire Review’s online digital edition at*

See tire shops through their eyes – and remember, you don’t have to follow a cookie-cutter floor plan anymore.

*All designs shown in Tire Review magazine and on Tire Review digital properties are the copyright-protected property of Kent State University. They may not be republished or otherwise used without the expressed written consent of Kent State University.


Design by Dalton Kline

1 – This station helps customers find a rental car or ride-sharing service like Zipcar to use while their vehicle is in the shop.

blueprintsKline2 – Glass walls overlooking the service bays allow customers a clear view to see their vehicle being serviced.

3 – Lighting features that mimic tires and vehicle photos on the wall give the store a classic repair shop feel. The scuffed metal ceiling gives the building a strong industrial feel.

4 – Glass displays housing current tire offerings can be updated and changed to feature new products. Podiums with touch screens allow customers to input information about problems with their vehicles that can be sent directly back into the bays. An employee can man the podiums to help direct customers to goods and services they might need.

5 – Customer waiting areas have both a lounge with sofas and table-seating, as well as theatre to enjoy movies or TV shows.

Click here to view Kline’s design larger.


Design by Nicole Galushik

More than just a tire store, locations can be a place where the community wants to spend time.

1- A tire test drive: A video simulator allows customers to experience a tire’s performance under various conditions prior to purchase.

Galushik22 – Replacing the traditional tire display is a podium featuring one tire and an iPad, where customer’s can learn more about available tires.

3 – Behind the service counter are decorative glass panels. Some panels serve as a design feature, while others can be enhanced with video displays for services and pricing.

4 – Customers can take advantage of complementary bikes if they don’t want to remain in shop while their vehicle is being serviced.

Galushik35 – Free food and beverage station, with comfortable sofas and chairs bathed in natural light courtesy of high glass panel walls.

6 – Behind the stairs and sales desk is a sound-proofed children’s play area. Parents can wait outside and watch their children play through a glass wall or join their kids inside the play zone.

7 – Upstairs is a small gym area. The facility allows customers to kill two birds with one stone during their lunch break or evening; they cannot only get their car fixed but they can work up a sweat, too.

8 – An upstairs business center provides customers with a relaxing work area featuring both high and low top workstations as well as a complementary library. And the space is large enough to host community group gatherings.

Click here to view Galushik’s design larger.


bonnettDesign by Samantha Bonnett

1 – The major design focus of this store is the retail area, located in the center of the space. Partitioned by frosted glass walls, the area is accessible from any part of the store but still allows some separation and privacy for transactions.


Surrounding the front desk are areas specifically designed for the customer:

2 – Computer workstation with available desktop computers.

3 – Lounge area with comfortable modern seating.

4 – In-store food and coffee shop with additional customer work space.

5 – Outdoor space that allows the customers to relax and get some fresh air, and rental bikes are available for use.

Click here to view Bonnett’s design larger.


Design by Delana Noil

This store is designed to give customers a “country club” or elite experience. Customers pull up to an overhang where a valet takes their car into the service area for attention. The open air portico can be secured at night or during inclement weather with a garage door.

1- When arriving for their scheduled appointment, staff at the main reception table greets customers by name as they enter the store, adding to the country club feel.

2 – Traditional sales counter helps with tire selection and processes customer transactions.

3 – Podiums with iPads and laptops allow customers to further research tire options in store.

4 – Upstairs is space for tire dealer business offices, employee lunch rooms, a training room, and more.

Click here to view more of Noil’s design.noilLoriYoder

Design by Lori Yoder

yoder11- A second-floor café offers tire dealers a second business opportunity. Not only can a café feed customers while they wait, but employees from nearby businesses can get lunch at the store.

2 – Indoor seating and tall glass walls offer an expansive outdoor experience, and free Wi-Fi allows customers to work while they wait.

3 – Outdoor space allows customers to relax and enjoy the natural scenery while they wait for their vehicles.

yoder24 – Rooftop gardens grow plants and other vegetables. Any produce grown on the roof would then be used for menu items at the café.

5 – Shelving in the showroom offers dealers opportunities to sell other vehicle maintenance products, such as batteries, wiper blades, car wax, car mats, trunk organizers, etc.

6 – Kitchen for the upstairs café offers a short menu for breakfast and lunch, helping drop-off customers and those waiting for service through their busy days.

7 – The service counter looks more like a business desk, with ample space to help customers find the best tire for their needs, schedule future appointments, and process purchases.

For more of Yoder’s design, click here.


Design by Emily Ober

ober2 1 – Touch screen walls and computers allow customers to research tires and make purchase decisions without having to interact with a customer service representative.

2 – A traditional service desk provides customers with assistance if they have questions or don’t care to use the automated stations. Background designs imitate tires, and provide a unifying design element throughout the store.

3 – Beverage and food stations provide the opportunity for an outside business to have a micro-location inside a tire dealership.

ober14 – High back chairs offer customers comfort and privacy while they wait for their cars to be fixed or new tires to be installed.

5 – A children’s play area offers a separate space for active children and desk space for watchful parents.

To view more of Ober’s design, click here.

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