First snow drives increase in tire sales

With the first snowfall of the winter comes many motorists’ first concerns about making their vehicles better prepared to drive in ice and snow, and area tire centers have seen their business boom as a result.

Lakewood Discount Tires employee Tristan Fager prepares to remove an all-season tire and replace it with a winter tire Nov. 26.

LAKEWOOD — With the first snowfall of the winter comes many motorists’ first concerns about making their vehicles better prepared to drive in ice and snow, and area tire centers have seen their business boom as a result.

According to Jason Lahaie, store manager of Discount Tires in Lakewood, many car owners became conscious of the need to prepare their rigs for slick and slushy roads even before the first powder touched down locally.

“It’s been more of a gradual curve of increased business,” Lahaie said. “This whole November has been busy, but around the second or third week of the month was when it got really busy, once they started getting snow in the passes and the lowlands.”

Discount Tires has been a fixture at Lakewood for nearly three years, and Lahaie has been working in the tire business for the past 15 years. Like many of his customers, he watches the weather reports for the first sign of snow, because he knows that’s when his busy season begins.

Lahaie estimated that a typical day during any other time of the year sees his shop servicing between 60-70 vehicles. From Nov. 20 forward, that average has shot up to about 250 a day.

“It kind of peaked on that Saturday and has sort of plateaued ever since,” Lahaie said Nov. 26. “We’ve been selling snow-chains, and selling and installing winter tires. About 60 percent of our customers who come in to get winter tires installed don’t have any winter tires already.”

Lahaie does not use the term “snow tires” when talking about winter tires, because he’s quick to point out to customers the importance of installing winter tires even before the first snowfall of winter.

“Any time the temperature goes below 45 degrees, all-season tires are going to get harder due to the cold,” Lahaie said. “Winter tires stay more pliable in the cold, which allows them to grip the road better.”

In Lahaie’s opinion, all brands of winter tires will work to help give motorists a safer driving experience, as long as they’re designed to serve as winter tires, and not just all-season tires.

With the increased demand for his services in mind, Lahaie has asked his customers to be patient with the fact that it will take longer for his staff to service their vehicles.

“Most people have been pretty understanding,” Lahaie said on Nov. 26. “From Monday through Friday, we’re open until 6 p.m., and we’ll take new customers right up until that closing time. We’ve even taken a couple of folks who have come in after that. We don’t leave this shop until we’re finished working on all the vehicles that have come in. On the Monday that we had our first snow, that meant that we were here until about 11:30 p.m., because had 47 cars lined up that were left for us to work on when we ‘closed’ for the day.”

Discount Tires is located at 2721 171st Place NE in Lakewood, and is open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. For information, call 360-652-3198.

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