What’s the secret to STTC’s 60 years of success?
Service Tire Truck Centers (STTC), based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is one of the tire industry’s great success stories.
Celebrating its sixtieth anniversary this year, family-owned STTC has also recently acquired All Time Tire (ATT), continuing its impressive history of growth.
Traction News looks at STTC’s remarkable journey and talks to chief operating officer (and son of the company’s founder) Walt Dealtrey Jr. about the secrets to the company’s success.
From humble beginnings, big things grow
Founded in 1955 by Walt Dealtrey Sr., STTC first operated as a 3,000 square foot retread shop in the back of one of Dealtrey Sr.’s retail tire stores. Back then, the fledgling company had two production people, one salesman and one delivery truck, and its retread production averaged just six tires per day.
Fast forward to today and STTC has over 40 locations, employs more than 800 people and produces more than 1,200 retreads every day. To date it has produced over 3,500,000 retreads. It has also diversified over the years, now providing a range of service offerings including world-class new tires and retreads, preventative tire maintenance programs, Road Assist – a 24/7/365 nationwide emergency road service – a vehicle maintenance division, earthmover tire services and wheel refinishing.
Although founder and civic-minded community member Walter Dealtrey Sr. passed away in 2002, STTC remains a family-owned business and is now led and owned by Walter Dealtrey Jr., Ronald Bennett and Ed Betz, all of whom have worked in every STTC department at one point in their careers. Dealtrey Jr.’s son has also joined the business, having started in the warehouse after college and now managing one of the company’s locations.
STTC’s latest acquisition
Dealtrey Jr., who himself has worked at STTC for 30 years, said the company’s continued expansion is a logical extension of its wider ethos: to better service its customers as the business expands, offer more opportunities and security to its employees, and remain an important distributor for its suppliers.
STTC’s latest acquisition, ATT, in South Toms River, New Jersey, has been supplying the Toms River area for over 18 years. Dealtrey Jr. said the new location will fill a service void for STTC, with the location offering a full line of products and services to customers in the central New Jersey market. Dealtrey Jr. said the acquisition is in line with company strategy to take advantage of situations that arise that make good business sense.
“They come in all shapes and sizes,” he said. “Sometimes an owner wants to retire completely or sometimes an owner wants to stay in a different role. Owners of companies like ATT built it themselves and mostly prefer to work with customers than to deal with the back office details required of owning a business.
“The owner of ATT had no succession plan and plans to retire in a few years, so this was a way to transition his business to a company that would treat his customers and employees the way he has treated them since starting the company.”
ATT founder and general manager Tony Maione has joined STTC as customer relations manager, bringing with him 30 years of tire industry experience.
A record of growth
While STTC has made many acquisitions in its long history, Dealtrey Jr. said the company does not rely purely on taking on existing operations to fuel its expansion, with the majority of locations brand new undertakings.
“The right time is only right if it’s good for both parties,” he said. “When we acquire someone, it needs to be a win-win-win (former owner, the employees, and STTC). About a third of our locations were not business purchases, they were where we just started a location from scratch.
“We would have a void in our service area or we had a customer that needed better service in an area we didn’t service so we found a building, hired people, bought trucks and inventory and worked to grow the business.”
In the last 30 years, STTC has added, on average, one new location every year and Dealtrey said he envisages the company will continue in the same vein, with slow, steady growth through various acquisitions within its current footprint.
Secrets to success
STTC is built on the values of Walter Dealtrey Sr.: to take care of the customer with superior goods and services, take care of the company and take care of its people. To that end STTC’s generous benefits include above-average health coverage, generous paid time off and a 90 percent participation rate in the matching 401K plan.
Boiled down, STTC’s philosophy for success is simple. Dealtrey Jr. says, “Reinvest in your business and your employees because they ultimately take care of your customers.
“Aligning with great suppliers and providing excellent customer service are paramount. Being bigger isn’t always better; there are many small tire dealers that have very successful businesses who have great relationships with their customers.”