TravelCenters of America has purchased a retreading facility in Bowling Green, Ohio — a first for the company that two years ago launched a commercial tire network.
The purchase includes the building and equipment, but not the Ironhead brand, according to Sharon Foster, senior director of commercial marketing for TravelCenters. She said the Ironhead facility ceased operations at the end of 2017. The company bought the the Ironhead Retread Center facility and the transaction closed at the end of May 2018.
The cost of the plant was about $2.7 million with an additional $1.9 million spent for renovations and new equipment, including a Shearography inspection system. The company said the laser technology is part of the intense, two-step casing inspection process, which helps increase the quality and performance of the retreaded tire.
The plant will be part of the Goodyear Authorized Retread Network, and will provide a full line of Goodyear commercial retread products, including Goodyear UniCircle retreads, to fleet customers and local industries within a 150-mile radius of Bowling Green in northwest Ohio.
The 32,000-square-foot plant's products also will be available to "numerous" TA Truck Service facilities, and it is on schedule to open for full production in July, the company said
“Adding a retread center to the TA Truck Service Commercial Tire Network portfolio reconfirms our commitment to expanding the array of tires we offer to our customers,” said Skip McGary, executive vice president of commercial operations for TravelCenters. “Not only will we be producing a quality Goodyear retread product, but we will also be able to provide a complete cradle-to-grave tire management program.”
Local customers will be able to purchase Goodyear retreaded tires, as well as shop for a full line of new Goodyear brand tires from the newly remodeled showroom. Tire inspection and repair services, as well as road service, also will be available through the retread center.
The purchase seems to represent a shift in strategy for TravelCenters. In the April 2017 issue of Modern Tire Dealer magazine, Kevin Carr, who was director-tire division of TravelCenters' TA Truck Service Commercial Tire Network at that time, said the goal was to be a "powerhouse" in the industry while giving business to retread shops.
“Instead of us launching 30 retread shops, we’re able to use the retread shops that are out there as our own sources and keep those retread shops up and running," Carr told MTD. At the time of the April 2017 story, the TA network had contracted with more than 140 company-owned and independent retreading shops.