Tire Discounters' Franchising Program Seeks to Aid Independents

Tire Discounters Unveils Franchising Program

Tire Discounters' franchising program aims to help independents while also expanding its footprint nationwide.

With plans for greater growth on the horizon, Tire Discounters recently unveiled the details of its franchising program, which aims to help independent tire dealers form a succession plan and partner with the company.

The program, called “Protect Your Legacy,” aims to help independent, family-owned businesses with three options for them to do just that. Tire Discounters President and CEO Jamie Ward outlined the ways Tire Discounters wants to help independents, and at the same time grow its footprint nationwide, during an event for tire trade media June 25 at Tire Discounters’ new headquarters in downtown Cincinnati.

“We can give to that small operator what they don’t have today,” Ward said about the franchising program. “What makes us different is how we market and how we operate.”

He outlined the options Tire Discounters presents to independents through its “Protect Your Legacy” program.

  1. Sell the real estate and business to Tire Discounters: This allows owner-operators to fully retire and make sure their business is taken care of, Ward said. “Sell your real estate, and we’ll take incredible care of your family,” he added.
  2. Sell your business, but keep the real estate: This allows owner-operators to make money through a monthly rent check and gives them the option to hold the real estate for a longer period of time. Ward said this option allows owners to fully retire and have their customers and employees stay with the business. He said through two acquisitions the company has made, they have been able to retain most employees and help some advance to higher levels in the company. “It allows them [the owner-operator] to cash out,” Ward said. “We can put together a long-term lease package that can extend their income stream.”
  3. Franchise with Tire Discounters: Through this option, Ward said independent tire dealers will be able to take advantage of Tire Discounters’ resources, including the buying power of more than 140 stores, award-winning marketing and promotions, access to training and more. Through the franchise program, independents will be able to retain the use of their business name and undergo a “full conversion of their facility” to add Tire Discounters branding and aesthetics. “We have tremendous buying power, and we want to extend it to our franchisees,” Ward said. “Our marketing support is tremendous. Our operations and best practices are invaluable.”

Ward listed the pressures independent tire dealers are under in today’s climate. They include the rising cost of doing business, inflationary pressures, competition from national chains and big-box retailers, and the lack of succession planning resources.

“We hear continually from owner-operators of mom-and-pop shops that they are struggling; it’s everything from supply costs, payroll, competitors, to hiring and keeping good talent, to IT expenses and security. They tell us they are handcuffed to the business and tired – they are unable to take vacations or take a much-needed break from the business,” Ward said. “So, we could possibly help them out with this stuff.”

Through two acquisitions, Ward said the franchise model has proven to be successful. In December 2020, Tire Discounters acquired Porterfield Tire, with locations in Athens and Watkinsville, Georgia. In this acquisition, Ward said the Porterfield family kept their real estate but sold their business, which includes retail, commercial and a warehouse.

In addition, Tire Discounters acquired Westgate Tire and Auto Service in Newport, Tennessee, most recently. The single-location dealership also sold their business to the company and maintained control of the real estate.

“Tire Discounters will welcome family-owned businesses that are looking to maintain a family legacy but are unable to make the financial commitment in today’s competitive market,” Ward said. “We are hearing from companies who want us to continue to look after their customers in the way they do. That’s exactly the types of companies we’re after.”

Ward said the franchising program started taking shape last December when the company hired tire industry veteran Dave Crawford to lead its franchising efforts. While the company continues to file the proper documents to operate franchising in different states, Ward said the company is on track to add six to 12 locations through acquisitions this year.

“We got a significant amount of folks already established in our pipeline,” Ward said. “A vast majority of folks we’ve been talking to are in our current regional footprint or are in the contiguous surrounding area.”

Today, Tire Discounters operates more than 140 locations across Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. Ward said in the next five years, Georgia is a market where Tire Discounters will highly concentrate its efforts on expansion.

“We know we can help that family business owner succeed, and it helps us,” he said. “The benefit is growing into new territories with our national brand recognition. As we continue to grow, this will help us improve our scale to help [independents] even more.”

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