Boulder Tire and Independent Motors acquires Tire Inc. assets
Boulder, Colo.—A simple opportunity to acquire some good, used tire equipment from a neighboring shop closing its doors turned into something much larger for Bill Bender, owner of Boulder Tire and Independent Motors, this fall after a visit with Nick Hardy, the previous owner of Tires Inc.
Bender’s assistant parts manager, James Mings, had caught word that Tires Inc. was closing and suggested he reach out for a meeting regarding the acquisition of the shops tire equipment – specifically its tire changer and balancer.
“The timing was perfect,” Bender said. “I was literally online the day prior getting quotes on a new Hunter Auto 34S tire changer. We needed one for working on low-profile tires with larger rims.”
Bender set up a meeting with Hardy immediately, and went to his shop to inspect the equipment. The conversation flowed and naturally drifted into questions about what Hardy’s plan was for liquidating Tire Inc.’s business assets such as its customer base, tire inventory, website URL and also the fate of some of its employees.
“It became apparent very quickly that Boulder Tire was a good candidate to fill the void that Tires Inc. would leave in the Boulder community,” Bender said.
The two owners had known each other for quite some time before the meeting. Both started their respective shops in Boulder in 1983. Bender bought parts from Imported Auto Parts, Hardy’s original business before adding Tires Inc. The trust between the two was already established, the only things left to discuss were the terms.
“Hardy knew he could trust me on the financial side of things – I paid him like clockwork when I used to buy parts from him in the ’80s,” Bender said. “I was more interested in acquiring his customer base, for my Independent Motors and Boulder Tire business, but he was mainly concerned about offloading his inventory – because he had something like 300 tires in stock – and his employees. We simply had to find a way to connect the dots.”
The trust factor between the two made the “paperwork” side of the deal a breeze. Three weeks after their initial conversation, Boulder Tire had acquired Tires Inc.’s customer base, one Hunter Auto 34S tire changer, a tire balancer, its phone numbers, website URL, all of its on-site inventory, which amounted to about 300 tires, and three of Tires Inc.’s former employees, including Luis Garcia, who Bender hired as a manager of the tire business that could ready the shop for the onslaught of new business soon to be heading its way. Bender described the deal as a “win, win, win, win.”
“If you think about it, Tires Inc. won, its former customers won, Boulder Tire won, and the three employees we hired won because they got to, essentially, keep their jobs,” Bender said.
The contract was officially signed on Aug. 10, and about one week later, Bender and his team moved the 300 tire inventory from Tires Inc.’s old facility into Independent Motors/Boulder Tires 8,600-square-foot, 14-bay facility with no place to store them.
“We had no choice but to store them in our employee lounge,” Bender said.
In order to better serve Tires Inc. customers, Bender felt he needed to become a Bridgestone-affiliated dealer. Before the deal closed, the shop was exclusively a Continental tire-affiliated dealer and relied on American Tire Distributors (ATD) for daily deliveries.
“Hardy called the Bridgestone rep, Mike Newsome, after the contract was signed and informed him that Boulder Tire had purchased the assets of Tires Inc. He came down and checked out our facility and very quickly set us up with credit and cleared us to become a Bridgestone-affiliated dealer,” Bender said.
The shop also had to install new electrical lines to prep for the install of a second Hunter Auto 34S tire changer, which Bender is buying as a “back up” machine, and added four new phone lines, transferred from Tires Inc.
“Tires Inc. was not going out of business. Hardy chose to close because a developer made him an offer he couldn’t refuse for the plot of land his shop was on. The business still averaged 100 calls per day on snow days and serviced sometimes 80 cars per day during peak season at its four-bay facility,” Bender said. “I don’t think this will be the case for us, but if we were to capture every single one of Tires Inc.’s old customers, our gross sales could double. We don’t have the capacity for that, but I’m preparing for at least 25-35 percent in additional gross sales.”
Boulder Tire has seen an immediate influx in business since the Tires Inc. deal and has plans to add another service advisor and a desk in February of 2019. Bender also began working with TCS Technologies for his website design and SEO for Boulder Tire, which is a technology company that works exclusively with tire dealers, wholesalers and retreaders in the automotive repair, tire and wheel verticals.
“Right now on our website, the inventory available shows only what we can get from ATD, but shortly we’ll also link to Tire Connect, which is Bridgestone’s inventory system. Our customers will be able to order anything in all of Bridgestone’s warehouses, and ATD warehouses, directly off our site and get them installed at our facility,” Bender said. “We’re also planning to house 500 tires in stock at our facility. Hopefully, by then I’ll have put these 12-hour days well behind me, but it’s been an exciting time and we’re looking forward to seeing where this goes.”