Merchants Tire and Auto

Merchants Tire and Automotive Centers is an automotive company that was founded in Manassas, Virginia in 1943 and sells tires and wheels, as well as offering various other maintenance and repair services.

merchants tire

By Karl Drew an Australian-based business writer with 20 years experience in entertainment, transport and security.

With the success of the opening of the first Merchant’s Tire  (or MT) retail store in Manassas, a second store was established in Centreville. By 1972, the company had grown to twelve outlets. In the years to come, MT continued its success and expanded further, concentrating on the East Coast of America. Store locations included York, Pennsylvania; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Baltimore, Maryland; and the Northern Virginia/Metro D.C. area.

MT is a part of the much larger TBC Corporation, and is part of a family of tire retailers that include Tire Kingdom, National Tire and Battery, Big O Tires, Carroll Tire, National Tire Warehouse, Tire Kingdom International and Treadways.

The Movers and Shakers and Merchant’s Tire

In 2000, TBC Corporation, one of the biggest tire industry marketers and distributors in the United States, purchased the parent company of Merchant’s Tire, Tire Kingdom. With the acquisition, TBC continued MT's geographic expansion. In 2005, investment company Sumitomo Corporation of America acquired TBC Corporation. TBC is now a wholly owned subsidiary of SCOA.

The TBC Group started in 1956 in Dayton, Ohio. It is a purchasing group of tire retailers that was formed and collectively known at the time as Cordovan Associates. Over time, Cordovan Associates grew as more like-minded retailers and wholesalers joined the buying group. In the mid '70s, Cordovan Associates changed its name to Tire & Battery Corporation. The company went public in 1983, listing on the stock market under its present name, TBC.

Today, TBC Corporation is the nation's largest vertically integrated marketer of tires. The Company's retail operations include" Tire Kingdom", "Merchants Tire & Auto Centers" and "National Tire & Battery" brands, as well as franchised stores under the "Big O Tires" brand. Through its Carroll Tire wholesale distribution centers, the Company also markets directly to independent tire dealers across the United States.

TBC also markets and sells 9 proprietary brands of tires through North America, including Multi-Mile, Cordovan, Sigma, Vanderbilt, Sumitomo, Eldorado, Laramie, Telstar and Jetzon.

Merchant’s Tire Business End of Things

MT distributes several tire lines including Michelin, BFGoodrich, Pirelli, Goodyear, Dunlop and Yokohama.

Their products and services include air and fuel filters, air conditioning, wheel alignments, alternators, batteries, belts and hoses, brakes, coil springs, cooling systems, CV boots and joints, fuel system cleaning, headlights and tail lights, heating services, lube, oil and filter changes, maintenance packages, maintenance tune ups, radiators, shocks and struts, starter motors, state inspections, suspensions, steering, tire repair, transmission maintenance, wheel balancing, and wiper blades.

Merchants Tire and Auto offer professional automotive service, maintenance, and repair performed by their trained and certified ASE technicians using state-of-the-art equipment. Each year Merchant’s Tire, and the other companies in its family, invest millions of dollars in equipment and training to supplement their store personnel's education and keep them all abreast of the latest technical advancements.

MT Also Specialize in Wheels

Everyone loves to individualize their vehicle, whether it be a little or a lot. Some people stop at a novelty on the dash board or a set of seat covers, others like to go a little further and invest in a set of great looking wheels. Merchant’s Tire cater for the individual with a huge range of wheel brands including V Line, Niche, Enkei, Foose, Dropstars, DUB, Sacchi, TSW, Cray, Wheel Replicas, Prova, Miror, Verde, Gram Lights, Volk, Motegi Racing, Concept Neeper, Asanti, Lowenhart, Konig, MST, Detroit, Beyern, Baccarat, Alcoa, Cragar, Sport Edition, MSW, Granite Alloy, AMG, Twenty Inches Strong, KMC, Lexani, Jesse James Wheel, OE Creations, Radd, Veloche, Konig, Bigg, Maxxim, Mickey Thompson, Mezzano, Zinik, SSR, MHT, Helo Alba, Moto Metal, American Racing, Ion, DIP, Mandrus, Rox, Privat, Rolf Blix, Kasino, Liquid Metal, and OZ.

Focus on TBC including Merchant’s Tire

Carroll Tire and National Tire Wharehouse

Carroll Tire and the National Tire Warehouse represent TBC Corporation’s unwavering commitment to independent tire dealers. With locations across the United States, Carroll Tire and National Tire Warehouse support over 10,000 retailers supplying the products they need where and when they need them.

Big O Tires

Big O Tires is North America's largest retail tire franchisor, with over 500 stores in 20 states, as well as a network of associate dealers in Canada. Subsequently TBC formed a joint venture with its long-time customer MFA Oil of Columbia, Missouri to expand the Big O franchise into that state.

Tire Kingdom, National Tire and Battery and MT

Headquartered in Juno Beach, Florida, TBC Retail Group operates more than 730 company-owned stores under the brands: Tire Kingdom, NTB - National Tire and Battery, and Merchant's Tire and Auto Centers. TBC employs nearly 350 associates at its Juno Beach headquarters and approximately 8,400 associates nationally. Additionally, the TBC Retail Group operates 491 franchised Big O Tires retailers.

Tire Kingdom International

A division of Tire Kingdom Incorporated. TKI sells wholesale tires to Domestic and International markets around the world. They also offer a diverse range of exclusive product lines and programs.


Treadways operating divisions provide a wide variety of high performance, passenger, light and medium truck tires, farm tires, and industrial tires to over 4,000 customers, including dealers and distributors, nationwide.

Summing Up

It can be confusing to try and put the jigsaw puzzle together when looking at the collective of organizations around Merchant’s Tire. At the end of the day, you're not supposed to identify all of these entities as one name. Buying groups were popular at a time when franchises were gaining momentum throughout the world. In order to join a franchise, smaller businesses were faced with outlaying huge amounts of money just to enjoy the buying power of the big names in their industry. Buying groups were an option to franchises that didn’t cost the earth, and the businesses involved got to keep the name they had worked so hard to establish.



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