BLOOMINGDALE, Ill.—Bridgestone Americas' Retail Operations (BSRO) unit began phasing out its Expert Tire brand, opting to close 15 stores by Dec. 31 and rebrand 65 others by the second quarter of 2014.
Bridgestone Retail Operations will rebrand 63 Expert Tire locations to Firestone Complete Auto Care stores and two sites in Oklahoma to Hibdon Tires Plus stores.
The tire maker said its decision was based on a number of factors, including sales volume and proximity to other Firestone Complete Auto Care and Tires Plus locations. BSRO said it will reassign about 100 employees affected by the closings and offer severance benefits to fewer than 40 it is not able to accommodate.
“After a careful banner review process, we determined that converting our Expert Tire stores best aligns with our strategic direction and makes the most sense for our customer base,” said BSRO President Stu Crum. “The stores will benefit from the brand equity inherent in the Firestone Complete Auto Care and Tires Plus names, as well as their marketing programs.”
The Expert Tire stores impacted are scattered throughout 30 states, including 14 in Texas. The stores to close are in Arkansas (two stores); Georgia (two); Montana; Nebraska; New York; Ohio; Oregon; Pennsylvania (two); Texas (three); and Virginia.