The plant started trial production June 1 and is operating at about 40 to 60 tires a day in the start-up phase, Snyder said, with one curing chamber. The plant should expand to three chambers, expanding capacity to about 300 tires a day, with more than 50 employees, in the future.
Snyder has been in discussions with Continental Tire the Americas representatives for about a year to get the business off the ground. He signed the LifeCycle franchise agreement in May and said getting the business off the ground could not have been happened without Conti's partnership.
"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."
DLS Retreading will be selling new Continental- and General-brand truck tires along with the Contitread retreads, he said, and will recruit a team of associate dealers as well.
For Continental, establishing this company in Fort Mill reflects a need for a quality dealer/retreader in the Carolinas and finding a reliable partner in Snyder, according to Paul Williams, executive vice president, commercial vehicle tires. Having the plant in Fort Mill so close to Conti's North American headquarters also provides a convenient platform for training new employees and showing potential LifeCycle licensees a working shop, he added.
"DLS Retreading has been a great ambassador already for Continental products, and we look forward to helping them continue their success," Williams said.
Snyder said he expects the business to be generating $1 million a month in sales by year-end, and he said he has a "very aggressive growth plan" for the next five years.
South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt said, "South Carolina's automotive sector continues to create jobs, and announcements like this one build on our reputation in the tire industry. DLS Retreading will create good-paying jobs that will have an impact in Lancaster County and beyond."
The facility, a former building goods warehouse, has 11 drive-up service docks and sufficient size for expansion. DLS Retreading will have a wheel refurbishing/powder coating facility in house, for example, Snyder said.
The DLS Retreading facility is the first of Continental's licensees in the U.S. to be a completely new retreading venture, with no pre-existing operations, Snyder said.
"Continental is a top-tier truck tire, and everyone wants to try their solution of new tires with matching retreads. Now we're here to help prove to these local fleets, with Continental's support, that Continental is an excellent choice for their life-cycle needs," Snyder said.