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Tire supply issues compounding Bend-area tire centers’ rise in yearly demand

'I think we could we could benefit from having a few more places open.'

(Update: Adding video, comment from tire stores)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- As the weather gets colder, it’s once again time for many to think about changing their car's tires for winter.

But as many are finding, it’s getting harder to get an appointment at a tire center in bend.

Bend has grown a lot the past decade, and with it, a demand for tires and tire services, among other things. But the number of tire centers in Bend has not grown with the population.

Bend’s Goodyear Auto Care co-owner Steve Breedlove said this year, there’s more bookings than ever.

“Every year it picks up. This town is growing,” Breedlove told NewsChannel 21 on Monday. “The demand for tire stores has definitely increased.”

The City of Bend’s records show seven businesses in the city registered as tire dealers. There hasn’t been a new registration since 2016, but the list doesn’t include retailers like Costco or Goodyear, which is registered under other auto services.

From 2010 to 2020, census numbers show Bend’s population growing from 76,639 to 99,178.

“I think we could we could benefit from having a few more places open. I mean, I hate to say it,” Breedlove said.

Les Schwab Chief Marketing Officer Dale Thompson said they see the increase in demand in the city too, but there’s plenty of competition.

“Competition certainly makes us stronger, but I don’t think there’s anyone out there begging for more competitors,” Thompson said.

However, both agree on one thing: Stocking inventory is getting difficult.

"There is a challenge with supply chain, there's no question," Thompson said.

Breedlove added, "We're having to branch out and look at different models, different brands, mix things up a little bit to be able to get people safe and get through our weather that we have."

Thompson said their shipping teams are doing their best to keep stores supplied.

And Les Schwab is moving the Franklin Avenue store, one of three in Bend, to a larger space to serve more customers.

But now is the time to get your tires changed. (Well, soon - Oregon's official studded tire season is still a week out, on Nov. 1.)

"With the weather that's changing right now, it's a really good to prepare," Breedlove said.

He said he wasn’t thinking of a second store in Bend, due to the rising costs of finding a location in the city.

Thompson could not comment on any future plans for Les Schwab.

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Jack Hirsh

Jack Hirsh is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jack here.

Comments

21 Comments

    1. With climate freaking out the way it is, I’d say the only thing certain is the exceptional. Northern CA just yesterday ended its longest dry spell since records began, and did so with its highest daily rainfall ever recorded in the month of Oct. And not by a little. Yesterday’s rain nearly DOUBLED the previous record. This was the result of the most powerful storm system ever recorded over the northern Pacific. Of course all this happened the same year as the most powerful heat dome ever recorded in the PNW. That too shattered records, and not by a little. For all we know, we could see 40″ of snow before Thanksgiving.

    2. However the rest of the story is that warmer snow creates more treacherous driving conditions than cold snow – hence the need for being prepared, be it snow tires or just better tires.

      1. The last heavy snow in the lower lands was just 4-5 years ago but for anyone going to or through the mountain passes you’re going to need snow tires. And even if it doesn’t snow, it’s going to rain. And that means icy roads, so you might want to think about studded tires. Studded tires are not for snow. They are for icy roads.

        1. I have used (and still use) studded tires most every winter. As my studded tires wear out I will replace them with studless snow tires. I bought a set for one of my vehicles several years ago. They work far better than I would have believed. Quieter, and no need to wait for change over day, or rush to get them off. They are better in wet conditions. I will run my current studded tires till they are used up, but after that I’m going all studless.

  1. 20 years ago I traveled to Central America to help with a building project. Despite the exotic food and culture, what impressed me most was the resourcefulness of the local contractors. We had trucks delivering cement and aggregate that did not have a matching tire between them. I saw dually axles on dump trucks running tires that weren’t even the same size. They would underinflate the taller tire so it would continue to take half the weight of the wheel assembly. Some tires had tread, many were bald, none were new. These trucks were so used up that they had Chevy doors welded onto Ford cabs sporting a grill that looked like it originated in the Soviet Union. Who knows what was going on under the hood, probably a diesel marine engine. But they got the job done and these men were getting paid $2.25 per hour to do it. Experiences like this put our first-world problems into perspective.

    1. There is nothing wrong with being resourceful but not when it becomes
      a safety issue, and what you described would never fly in the U.S for
      that reason. Mismatched, underinflated and overinflated tires are an
      accident waiting to happen.
      I’m glad I got new tires put on our pickup a couple months ago…

    2. So glad you’ve seen something other than Terrebonne!
      I’ve been to 38 countries (many twice, almost all for a week or two or three).
      It’s a big, cool, world out there. People are amazing everywhere you go. I hope you continue to explore, and meet new people in ‘exotic’ destinations. I’m completely serious, please keep exploring!!
      Pro-tip: leave your phone and your politics in your hotel room, and just experience the people/place without the need to compare them to anything or somehow immortalize everything with a selfie.

      1. Yes I am quite well traveled but not much of the tourist/hotel room variety. 38 countries is an impressive worldview, although I guess it largely depends what style of travel. People are amazing and in many ways more so outside of good ole USA. I think the only time I’ve ever taken a selfie was to mock the idea of taking a selfie. How is it that you have such a busy passport?

  2. The past few weeks, I have already heard the distinctive sound of studded tires, well before the approved date. I actually heard an occasional one all summer; the most common were USPS local delivery vehicles.

      1. Plenty of people mount tires without machines. Couple of levers, chunk of wood, can of ether, dishsoap and a big hammer. It’s hardly an advanced skill. Getting them balanced is more tricky.

    1. I’ve sold tires on CL twice. They weren’t cheap tires. They were all season Toyo
      10 ply tires with about 40% tread, and I had several people come and look at them,
      and offer $5 each. People expect you to give them to them. I told them before I
      would sell them for $5 I would keep them.
      It’s not about the money, it’s the principle. If I knew somebody that was having
      a tough time, and really needed them, I would give them the tires.
      If you buy used tires on CL or anywhere else, look them over really good inside
      and out.

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