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Tires on the Easy Payment Plan

When people find that their tires need to be replaced, they often don't have the money conveniently available. Larry Sutton, now 66, saw the opportunity in this situation years ago and founded RNR Tire Express back in 2000. Its concept was simple: offer to sell tires on a deferred payment basis. Seventeen years later, the company has just opened its 100th store, in Sarasota, Florida. Sutton, RNR president, says the goal is for 1,000 stores in 10 years.

The company’s revenue growth backs up Sutton’s ambition.

Each store (most are owned and operated by franchisees, with the exception of 15 corporately owned stores) averages about $1.6 million in sales annually, with the top 20 hitting close to $2 million apiece each year.

…A strength of RNR Tire Express is its ability to grow organically, without bringing too many new, untested franchisees into the fold. The company has just a handful of franchisees, three of whom account for more than half of the total stores. (Sutton says he fields plenty of calls for potential franchisees, mostly thanks to his appearance on the popular CNBC show “Blue Collar Millionaires.”)

Sutton says the RNR Tire Express concept — which, in addition to tires, also includes custom wheel installations — is particularly popular with father-son franchisee teams. “You know, the son has the interest, the father has the money. Also, our biggest franchisees have all re-signed for more stores when their first deal was up. Seldom does anyone not sign up for more stores.” — Brian Hartz, Business Observer

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