Tire Outlet, a 10-location independent tire dealership in the Jacksonville, Florida, area, has donated $20,000 to the University of North Florida (UNF)’s Adaptive Toy Project, which designs toys for children with disabilities.
In its first year raising funds for the project, Tire Outlet donated $2 from each Milestar-brand tire sold and $4 from each Yokohama tire sold. On top of that, the dealership rounds each transaction to the nearest dollar to add to its donation.
“First of all, it’s great for the children that are involved in this project,” said Rob Duckworth, Tire Outlet COO. “It’s also automotive related. It’s just such a good cause, we wanted to bring awareness to it.”
UNF’s Adaptive Toy Project combines the talents of its students from its engineering and physical therapy departments to build these adapted toys for kids with disabilities. Together, students reconstruct ride-on battery toy cars for a specific child in the Jacksonville community that meet the physical and cognitive needs of each individual child.
“They create little electric vehicles. Some of them are made if, say, a child can’t walk, their car might help with their core strength so that they can sit up straight. They’re really geared toward each individual,” Duckworth says.
This past year, the UNF project was able to afford to create six vehicles last year thanks to Tire Outlet’s donation.
“This upcoming year, we’re looking to hopefully double that,” Duckworth said, “because on average, one toy car could cost anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000 depending on the child’s disability.”
With a rigorous growth plan set for 2020, Tire Outlet is set to reach its goal. Duckworth said the dealership is planning to open two superstore locations: one slated to open in April in east Jacksonville and another outside of Jacksonville near Amelia Island. Duckworth said the dealership has also invested in a mobile tire service truck, which is slated to launch in Q2 this year.
“Everybody is going toward the service aspect and the convenience factor is what we’re looking to serve with the mobile van,” Duckworth said. “For customers, being able to go out to the parking lot at their job and have their tires be changed on the spot, that’s our vision.”
With growth on the horizon, Duckworth said he’s looking forward to the dealership not only serving customers better but also increasing its in-store donation matching and charitable events, especially with the Adaptive Toy project.
“This donation would not be possible without the generosity of our customers and the additional contribution from our vendors such as Yokohama and Milestar,” he said.