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In these days of enlightened consumerism, multi-brand dealerships and arguably tougher price competition, one might surmise that high-end passenger tire profitability is headed the way of the bias ply dinosaur.
"Far from it!" insists Larry Morgan, whose chain of dealerships in Florida has grown to 91 outlets with 13 under construction in what the experts have called a low-growth business.
"Selling premium passenger tire lines today is much more complicated than it used to be, but in a real sense the better-educated consumer, if handled correctly, is a better prospect to buy replacement tires at the high end than ever before," says Morgan, who in 1991 bought Don Olson Tire & Auto Centers from the business' namesake.
The dealership is headquartered in Clearwater and covers the metropolitan areas of the state.
Morgan has pursued a multi-brand strategy to broaden the dealership's business mix from 90% retail five years ago to 75% retail, 20% commercial and 5% wholesale today.
What had been a Firestone-only business with a low tire-sales-to-total-sales …