DLS Retreading is celebrating the grand opening of a brand new, $2.5 million truck tire retreading plant in Fort Mill, S.C. The 70,000 square foot facility is the first all-new ContiTread licensed truck tire retreading facility in the U.S.
Vice President and General Manager Scott Snyder, a 25-year veteran of the truck tire and retreading industry, said the new facility could not have been created without the partnership of Continental Tire the Americas’ Commercial Vehicle Tire business unit.
“We have truly worked together as a team, and what makes this the most intriguing is that Continental has taken a year to work with our family, providing resources and capital, to make sure that we could get into this market successfully," Snyder said. "I feel confident that with Continental’s help, our company and ContiTreads are the perfect fit for this area."
Paul Williams, executive vice president of Continental Truck Tires, the Americas, called the partnership with DLS the right opportunity at the right time.
"We needed a facility here in the Carolinas and Scott knows the territory like the back of his hand," Williams said. "He knows the market and the customer base, and he was looking for an opportunity get established in this market. Further, we believe it was time a manufacturer got behind entrepreneurs who understand their markets, and that's what we've done with DLS.
"Scott has had this dream for a long time," added Williams. "The past 12 months has been a work of passion."
Dawn Watkins inspects a tire at newly opened DLS Retreading in Fort Mill, S.C.
Continental will provide DLS Retreading with engineering, marketing and sales support in the fast-growing South Carolina market. According to Williams, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis ranked the state with the second highest real gross domestic product growth rate in the region for 2012.
"The region is growing, but the retread market is fairly flat at the moment," he said. "Obviously we're looking at taking market share from our competitors, but we believe there's still a lot of room for growth in retreading. The Rubber Manufacturers Associations says the ratio of retreads sold to new tires is about one-to-one. If you take a country like Brazil, with a ratio of 1.4 to 1, you can see the potential. Now that manufacturers are getting imbedded in the retread business, the way forward is in retreads."
DLS's Fort Mill location gives it excellent access to the Charlotte, N.C. market, which Snyder said is the is the second largest market in the Southeast. He said customer have been asking about the ContiTread retreads because they are new to the market.
"Ask any fleet in the area and they will tell you in the past 90 days they have had six or seven other retreaders call on them," noted Snyder. "The question then becomes, what makes his retread any better than her retread. I'm unique in this market now. I can sell my Conti retreads against the other brands, no matter where which dealer they come from. A lot of fleets are asking for a chance to try these out."
The "boom box" adds a measure of safety to the ContiTread retreading process by overinflating every finished tire to check for hidden damage such as zipper ruptures.
Snyder has big plans for his new franchise, as the 70,000-square-foot building suggests. Currently, the retreading equipment occupies only about one quarter of the space. Snyder says there's room to grow as the business becomes established and starts expanding.
"It will all come incrementally once the volume justifies it," he says.
Currently, DLS Retreading's Fort Mill plant has one initial inspection station, one buffing machine, two repair stations, one builder and one curing chamber with capacity for about 16,000 retreads per year.
"The way the plant is laid out, we've left room to add machines as we grow," Snyder said. "It's already set up for expansion, all the electrical and air systems are in place already. The next addition will be a new chamber, and eventually we plan to grow to two builders, two buffers, three chamber, four skiving stations, four repair stations and four initial inspection stations."
DLS began operations in June and so far has 12 employees with plans to grow to more than 50 within three years.