Belle Tire’s Don Barnes III Displays on one hundredth Anniversary, Growth into Chicago

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This yr, Belle Tire marks 100 years in enterprise because it continues its enlargement into the Chicagoland space– to the tune of opening 20 shops per yr for the following three years. In accordance with Don Barnes III, president of the burgeoning tire retailer headquartered in Allen Park, Michigan, Belle Tire’s future is expansive, however the enterprise’s largest problem lies in retaining true to its roots.

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“We need to ensure that we keep true to ourselves and our values,” Barnes informed Tire Evaluate in an interview earlier this yr. “As we proceed to get larger and greater, we should hold doing the precise factor, empower our folks and hold that entrepreneurial spirit ingrained in us whether or not now we have 200 or 1,000 shops.”

Simply this yr, the corporate started its second spherical of a greater than $300 million funding within the Chicagoland space. Seven Belle Tire shops are at present open with one other 54 ground-up constructions on the best way within the subsequent two and a half to 3 years. The purpose is to have 60 shops in Higher Chicago that can create upwards of 1,000 jobs.

“We see the Chicagoland market as fragmented with no clear dominant market chief to offer one-stop service like Belle can,” Barnes says. “There’s already sturdy model recognition for the Belle Tire identify via many years of commercial with so many transplants from close by markets that dwell in Chicago.”

Wanting Again

Barnes III is a third-generation tire vendor. His father, Don Barnes, Sr. went into the tire enterprise within the Sixties when he partnered with Sam Waze, who initially based Belle Tire in 1922. Sam named the enterprise after his spouse, Belle.

Round 1984, the Barnes household purchased Waze’s shares and continued to increase via acquisitions of American Tire, Delta Tire, Nice Lakes Tire and Elkin Tire adopted by the acquisition of Tireman and Metro 25 within the Nineteen Nineties, in keeping with Belle Tire’s web site. By 1997, the enterprise had 45 areas and 650 workers in Michigan.

Through the years, the corporate has expanded all through Michigan and into Ohio and Indiana. Because it continues its westward enlargement into better Chicago, it seems to create alternatives for development for workers and provides again to people who have helped the enterprise develop.

“We take our groups’ careers very severely,” Barnes says. “We all know that we have to proceed to spend money on them to create future leaders from inside. Individuals are our best asset. The explanation we’re in a position to proceed to increase is because of the superb people that work for us.”

Belle Tire Chicago Expansion

What’s Modified, What’s Stayed the Identical

Barnes admits that since his days as a 17 yr previous working as a tire technician for the corporate, the tire trade has grow to be extra advanced.

“Being a retailer supervisor at Belle Tire right this moment is approach more durable than 50 years in the past,” he says. “There’s far more to do and handle.”

Barnes notes that SKU proliferation of tires and auto elements has made the enterprise extra difficult. Right now, Belle Tire makes use of “a ton of information” and a market-by-market retailer method to find out what works greatest in every market and which merchandise are A movers.

What hasn’t modified, Barnes says, is how he and the chief group take into consideration the communities that Belle Tire serves and the households it employs.

“We take a look at our prospects as neighbors,” Barnes says. “Our job is to get our neighbors again on the highway quick and affordably. Why we do what we do stays the identical.

“We’re a people-centric and customer-centric group,” Barnes continues. “That’s been on the core of Belle Tire for the final 100 years and will likely be for the following 100. It’s thrilling to have the ability to have fun 100 years, however I don’t take a look at it that approach. We’re simply excited to be part of one thing larger than us. We now have round 2,500 workers, and it’s their households and the hundreds of households that labored for our firm earlier than that we have to thank to get up to now. What’s thrilling is how we will proceed to develop and make this larger than simply us.”

Charting out the Future

Right now, Belle Tire has 130 shops and counting. As the corporate grows, Barnes says it’s going to at all times deal with the underside line and its folks first. Nonetheless, one space of serious progress that Barnes sees for Belle Tire and the trade as a complete is electrical car service.

“That can imply retrofitting shops and providing charging for EVs, so once they’re having work executed within the store, we will lengthen their vary,” he says. “That’s an funding we’re trying to make within the progress of EVs. We’re exploring choices for service, one in all them being offering charging stations at our shops.”

Whereas Belle Tire areas put together to adapt to mobility tendencies, Barnes’s eye is at all times on the the place the Tireman brand will seem subsequent.

“We’ll at all times look to maneuver to markets according to our present footprint,” he says. “Quite a lot of alternatives exist all through the center of Ohio and southern Illinois and Indiana. We simply have to investigate alternatives proper now and proceed to determine what’s greatest for us.”


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