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This is the space-saving tire rack Pep Boys uses

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This is the Pipp Mobile Storage Solutions tire racking system. Photo shows four rack sets (back-to-back) plus the fixed rack against the wall. | © Pipp

It’s the space-saving tire storage solution Pep Boys loves so much they’ve already rolled it out at four of their locations across the U.S.

The Pipp Mobile Storage system allows you to store your current volume of tires in about 40 percent less square footage. The racks are also designed to hold more tires than standard tire racks, so users gain even more storage space.

Traction News spoke with Paul Laux of Pipp Mobile Storage Solutions about their space-saving tire storage solution. He explained the mechanics behind the racking system isn’t actually new — it has been used for decades in retail, which is the company’s traditional market. But after being approached by Pep Boys to help with their storage requirements, and then creating a system that works for tires, Pipp Mobile decided to roll out their solution to the tire and automotive industry.

Pep Boys trying the system in four locations

Laux said that Pep Boys has had their mobile tire storage racking system for about three years now and they love it. Pep Boys’ Kevin Lewis told us: “When we needed more tires and did not have the space to add them using traditional methods, my first call was always to Pip Mobile Storage. Pipp was engaged in the project from beginning to end and made sure the final product was what we wanted and it was built to serve our needs as planned.”

So far, Pep Boys is just testing the efficacy of the racking system in three stores and one distribution center, but Laux says that they will probably begin to roll it out to more stores and distribution centers soon.

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This is from a Pep Boys location and shows the racks closed up. Each of the black stands is a mechanical assist unit that cranks the shelf unit into the open position, allowing access to the tires on the racks.

Laux said that there are also several tire retailers and car dealerships across the country that have bought the new racking system and he is in talks with two other major automotive retailers to get racks in their stores and distribution centers.

How the Pipp got its start

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Pipp Mobile tire racks being built.

Pipp Mobile was started 38 years ago in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where a shoe store owner was thinking about how he could create more storage space in the back of his store without knocking out a wall and expanding his building. What he came up with was a moveable racking system that uses tracks and a single aisle, instead of an aisle between each of the shelves.

He made one rack on each end fixed and the rest were able to roll along the track. He realized that the aisles were wasted space and he only needed a single aisle to access the shoes he needed. He simply rolled the racks out of the way until he got to the rack where the shoes he needed were located. Soon he was selling this racking system to other retailers in the area. It can now be found in 260 retail stores around the country such as Ann Taylor, American Eagle, and many others.

Flexibility a big plus in any racking system

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Assembly of a Pipp Mobile tire rack system in a Pep Boys location.

Laux said their tire racking system could expand to fit tire storage areas as small as a closet to as large as a million-square-foot warehouse. The racks can be adjusted to fit any size tire from large truck tires down to tires for small garden equipment and machines like wheelbarrows and trailers.

This photo from a distribution center shows how longer racks can be accommodated by the addition of extra tracks on the floor.

Laux said his storage systems can be custom-made to fit any size tire storage area. Smaller systems are fully mechanical. These have manual locks and can either be rolled and locked into place by hand or hand crank. Larger storage solutions can be either mechanical or mechanical assist, using motors to help move the needed racks to create the walkway where it’s needed.

For storage in less space

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This image shows how much more storage space can be achieved in the same amount of floor space.

The inherent weakness of normal racking systems is that you have to have a walkway between each rack so you can get to the product on the racks on either side of the aisle. With this racking system, only one aisle is needed because the racks in the middle are movable. If you need something on the fourth rack, you simply unlock and move the two racks to the left of the rack you’re looking for an open an aisle between the third and fourth racks. This allows for the same amount of storage in about 40 percent less square footage. Also, the racks hold more tires than standard tire racks, so you gain even more storage space.

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Artist’s rendering shows how the system works. The two single racks at either end are fixed in place. The three racks with the black mechanical assist pylons move back and forth to give access to the tires on those racks.

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