Tires

Direct Tire opens fifth “green” Boston location

© Direct Tire

Direct Tire opens fifth “green” Boston location

They say “it ain’t easy being green” but for Direct Tire owner Barry Steinberg, it’s second nature. Steinberg opened his fifth Boston location in May, building a store from the ground up that has impeccable environmental credentials and looks good in the bargain.

What makes it so environmentally friendly?

Direct Tire’s Medway tire and auto repair facility has concrete sidings that insulate the building, 100 percent LED lights, motion-sensor lights in the restrooms and hand dryers instead of paper towels.

“It’s modern, clean, efficient and customer-friendly, and probably the prettiest tire and auto service center on the planet,” Steinberg says.

“It’s got all the stuff you don’t expect to see in a tire store and auto repair facility; you might see it in a Mercedes Benz dealership, but not a tire store. Since in our industry we’re competing against the car dealers and they’ve got these ‘Taj Mahals’ you see all around the country, we have to build one like it. That’s our approach, it’s got to be perfect.”

Across all Direct Tire five locations, recycling everything from paper, plastic, batteries and cans is a given. However each store also recycles motor oil, using a Clean Burn furnace to burn off the oil and heat the buildings.

“We put them in all our stores starting about eight years ago. We’re not moving oil where there could be potential spills. It is absolutely environmentally wonderfully clean with no emissions and we get so much heat – maybe too much sometimes,” Steinberg said.

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Customers like good-looking stores

Steinberg opened his first store in Watertown, Boston in 1974. Norwood followed in 1994, then Peabody in 1997 and Natick in 1998. His new Medway store is certainly a labor of love, but then so is Direct Tire.

With an unwavering focus on his customers, Steinberg says he wanted to create stores people would be happy to come into and, where they would receive excellent, honest and top-notch service. It seems his approach is working, with a “sensational” first week of business at Medway.

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“It was way beyond my expectations; people came in and they loved it because it’s such a beautiful, really unusual-looking store. People come in and really say ‘Wow, I’ve never seen a tire store like this’.”

When it comes to being more environmentally friendly (not to mention sprucing up a store and bringing in the customers), Steinberg’s advice is simple: if you can do it, why not do it?

“It may be small things but they’re not hard. It’s good for the environment, it’s good for my grandchildren and for their children,” he said. “My recommendation for anyone who’s building from scratch or looking at their store from the outside, which we all don’t do enough of, is benchmark yourself against car dealers. Look at the car dealers and see what they’re presenting to the public when they walk through the front door because they’re our biggest competitors right now.

“I say to my managers, sit in your own showroom and see what the customer sees every day and if you see something that isn’t perfect, change it.”

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