Little did Frank Bingham know when he quit driving large off-road coal hauling trucks to set up a tire service shop in the small town of
Flat Lick, Ky., he would start a family business spanning nearly half a century and involving three generations of Binghams.
But that's exactly what happened.
"My father set up his Goodyear service shop in a small shed beside the family home in 1964," said Brent Bingham, Frank's
youngest son and co-owner of Bingham Tire. "As a coal haul truck driver, he saw a great opportunity in providing coal mines with
good tire products and great service to help them reduce their operating costs. Some of those companies were turning their tires
every 90 days."
Today, Brent manages Bingham Tire, following his father's commitment to offer quality tire products and services. It's a commitment
that has earned Bingham Tire designation as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company's Commercial Tire Dealer of the Month for March 2010.
"I am so pleased and very excited about being named Goodyear's Dealer of the Month," Brent said. "I take a lot of pride in the fact that
we've always treated customers the way we would want our family to be treated. Regardless if our customers have one truck or 120 trucks, we
provide them the same level of service and help them to make the most of their investment in tires."
Each month, Goodyear honors dealers that provide customers outstanding service, while helping them choose from among the Goodyear, Dunlop
and Kelly tire brands. The dealer of the month honor also recognizes Bingham Tire for helping customers make full use of Goodyear services,
such as fleetHQ and TVTRACK and GTRACS automated retread tracking system.
After his father turned over the business to Brent and his brother, Scott, in 1994, the two sons relocated the store from Flat Lick to
Barbourville, Ky., to handle the growing business. Scott died a year after they opened the Barbourville location. In 2002, Brent's oldest brother,
Kim, returned to Kentucky to work for the growing company.
"Ever since we moved the business to Barbourville in 1994, our family and our employees have grown the business from $500,000 in
annual sales to more than $8 million through some good luck, but mostly hard work," Brent said.
In June of 2001, Brent and his wife, Nina, opened the Barbourville retread plant, which produces about 100 tires per day using the Goodyear
Precure and UniCircle retread processes. And in 2005, Brent and Nina bought a dealership in Clinton, Tenn., extending the company's
reach 90 miles south toward Knoxville, where it serves companies that handle over-the-road freight.
Brent also attributes his dealership's growth to the products and services that Goodyear offers. Because Goodyear offers a three-tier
selection of tires, Bingham can provide its customers tires that help meet their needs and their budgets, Brent said.
Goodyear has also provided outstanding customer support through services like fleetHQ, Goodyear's comprehensive business solution that
provides fleets, regardless of size, uniform tire pricing at home or on the road, centralized invoicing and 24-hour emergency roadside service.
"fleetHQ has really helped us demonstrate the value we can bring to customers everyday," he said. "Now I am really excited about the changes
Goodyear has in store for our customers with its revised TVTRACK. We've gotten a sneak peak at it and the tire cost tracking tools that will
be available with it are impressive."
Besides the tools that Goodyear makes available for Bingham Tire customers and employees, Goodyear also provides dealers education and training
programs so that their employees can stay current with the latest developments in tires and tire service, Brent said. "We have our employees
take full advantage of that so they can better match what we have to offer to what our customers need."
"Instead of just selling Goodyear tires and service, we encourage our employees to always look at what customers are running, ask
questions and learn as much as they can about their operations," he said. "With that information they can then make suggestions as to what
will work to help them attain the lowest cost per mile."
Regarding the next generation of Binghams, Brent said his niece (Scott's daughter) has started to take an interest in the business,
lending her invaluable help in the dealership's front office. As for his own children, Brent said he and Nina intend to let them decide
whether to follow in his footsteps and take over the family business when the time comes. But they're already showing a keen interest in the
"My 10-year-old daughter, Toni, likes to write up work orders for our customers and she answers the phone," he said with a grin.
"And my 6-year-old son, Brendon, likes to help us around the store by playing in the tires and getting dirty."