Love's Travel Stops is expanding the number of tire bands available at 46 of the 52 Speedco stores it acquired last year and is now adding light mechanical work as well – mirroring Love’s overall efforts to become a “one stop shop” of sorts for truck drivers and fleets alike.
“We think what it does is open a window for all of our customers,” explained Aaron Aylworth, director of Speedco operations. “For tires, it provides a little better price point from the low end to the high end and a broader spectrum of tire brand and types as well.”
In an interview with American Trucker, Aylworth added that Speedco is also now adding light mechanical work to its offerings so they not only can be “very competitive on tires” but can provide preventive maintenance [PM] and Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) related repair work.
“We’re trying to be that all-inclusive tractor and trailer repair place; the ‘hometown shop’ if you will,” he said. “For the major items like in-frame engine work we’ll still send you to a dealership, but the light stuff we’ll take care of.”
He noted that those 46 Speedco stores cited above now offer Aeolus, Goodyear, Yokohama and Love’s retread tire products, in addition to the Bridgestone/Firestone brands the chain previously offered.
“By offering more tire brands at Speedco locations, our technicians can examine the driver or fleet’s budget and goals and provide them with more options for recommendations,” Aylworth said.
The ability to offer retreads is a “huge opportunity, he added, as there is “huge demand” from them in trucking, from both fleets and independents. “We have four [Love’s] retread facilities that we own and operate and a fifth one is going online shortly – it is growing part of our [tire] business; in fact it is the single largest part of our business.”
That stems from the fact that a well-cared for tire can obtain an extra two or even three “lives” via retreading. And Aylworth said Love’s retreads also come with a one-year warranty at roughly the same price point as a used tire.
“That’s a huge opportunity for us and for the owner-operators we serve,” he explained. “It’s also a very cost effective option for fleets versus purchasing just virgin [new] tires.”
Adding in oil changes, federal inspections, battery checks and now light mechanical work to Speedco’s offerings is the next step in Love’s vision to make Speedco the “King of PMs,” according to Aylworth.
Yet he stressed that phrase isn’t a marketing ploy; rather, it’s the “realization” that, due to the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate and other regulatory pressures, equipment downtime is becoming more difficult to manage for truckers large and small.
“The trend is with the ELD is that they don’t have the downtime they used to have, to stop at multiple places to do multiple different things on their list. So it presents an opportunity for us to be a little more of everything,” Aylworth said.
“You’re not going to wash your clothes at a Speedco, but we do want to be a ‘one stop shop’ for tires, oil changes, and light mechanical work for both the fleet and the owner-operator,” he noted. “We want Speedco to be more of a ‘planned destination’ for timely and convenient maintenance. I think we are in an extraordinary position to grab bull by the horns and become all-inclusive guys.”