When William Crowell Black opened what was then called Black's Service Station located on South Madison Street in Whiteville, N.C., little did he know that his business would be challenged by the hardest economic downturn in American history - the Great Depression.
Fortunately for Black, his business succeeded due in large measure to hard work, a dedication to his customers and to a decision by the local rationing board designating his company as the surrounding counties' only authorized tire dealer. Eighty years later, Black's Tire Service still stands strong and has weathered the recent economic downturn.
It's the same dedication that has earned the Whiteville, N.C.-based tire dealer designation as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company's Commercial Tire Dealer of the Month for August 2010. Black's Tire Service has 18 commercial tire locations in North and South Carolina, where it offers a variety of new commercial tires under several brands, including Goodyear, Kelly and Dunlop. It has another 24 locations throughout the Carolinas, including passenger tire shops, wholesale tire locations and a new retreading plant in North Carolina.
Each month, Goodyear honors its top dealers that provide customers outstanding service, while helping them choose from among the Goodyear, Dunlop and Kelly tire brands. The Commercial Dealer of the Month honor recognizes Black's Tire for helping customers make full use of Goodyear services, such as fleetHQ, TVTRACK and GTRACS automated retread tracking system.
"It's a good feeling to be chosen as the Commercial Tire Dealer of the Month," said Ricky Benton Sr., owner of Black's Tire Service. "Being chosen is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of all our people who make up the BTS Family. The honor is also an extension of the tremendous support we've received from Goodyear at all levels, especially during the difficult times the trucking industry has recently faced."
Benton, who had been in business with W. Crowell Black in another location, took over Black's Tire Service in the '80s. Since then, Benton, his family and his team of employees have worked to build the local commercial tire business while also developing BTS Tire & Wheel Distributors, a local wholesale distributor of commercial and passenger tires. The wholesale business serves small retail tire dealers and commercial accounts within a 150-mile radius.
Black's Tire Commercial Division recently opened a new 50,000 square-foot retread plant and commercial distribution center in Clarkton, N.C. The new facility replaces another, smaller plant in Clinton, N.C., and can produce up to 225 different truck tire retreads from 16-inch to 24.5-inch wheel diameters. The retreading plant currently retreads about 100 truck tires per day, but plans to expand that number through customer growth.
"The new retreading equipment, state-of-the-art tire management technology and more storage capability at our new retread plant and distribution center allows us to offer a new level of tire service," Benton added. "With this new facility, we can help truck operators reduce their costs."
Jeremy Benton, one of Ricky's three sons and manager of the new retread plant, said through the lean manufacturing concept, the layout of the shop and the placement of the equipment have been optimized so that employees can process retreads more quickly and efficiently. Since the new Clarkton location also has additional warehouse space and more covered space for scrap tires, Black's Tire Commercial Division can offer fleets enhanced mounted tire programs and detailed scrap tire analysis.
"Our goal is to help our customers see the value and quality that Goodyear retreading can offer," Jeremy added.
The retreading plant produces tires using Goodyear's Precure and patented UniCircle® retreading processes.
"We're excited about being able to offer customers retreading service for Goodyear tires that incorporate Goodyear's Fuel Max Technology and Goodyear's DuraSeal Technology," Jeremy added. "It gives us the opportunity to offer customers even greater value with their tire programs."