The Area Wholesale Tire Company complex today offers all the services, programs, and inventory necessary for the independent tire dealer.
Thirty-five years ago The Dayton Tire & Rubber Company was in dire straits. The firm had just been acquired by Firestone, and Dayton Tire warehouses across the country were being closed. A father-son team, C.S. and C.R. Potter, decided to borrow $25,000 and invest it in an attempt to get the operation on its feet. The Baton Rouge wholesale operation (Dayton Tire Co. of LA, Inc.) had only three employees and one delivery truck. Business was so light that half of the warehouse was leased to another company.
For four years C.S. commuted once a week from his "retirement" in New Orleans to oversee the business. In 1965, his son C.R., a Texas Christian University graduate, left his position with Texaco, Inc. to manage the company. The name was changed to Area Wholesale Tire Company; the product line expanded; a service department was added; and wholesale was expanded.
C.S. Potter died in 1969 but the company continued to grow. In 1971, the warehouse was purchased and 10,000 square feet were added along with a service department.
In 1973, AWT opened a facility in Lafayette, LA and in 1975 a wholesale warehouse was opened in Alexandria, LA. In 1977 modern corporate offices were completed at the firm's main location at 5930 McClelland Drive in Baton Rouge, along with a separate retread plant behind the warehouse.
An AWT branch was opened in Bossier City (Shreveport), LA in 1980 and another was added at Westwego (New Orleans), LA in 1982.
From yearly sales of $200,000 in 1966 and three employees, the company has grown into a staff of over 90 associates. The lone delivery truck has been replaced by a fleet of forty-seven vehicles that service the five-state area of Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama with Cooper, Mastercraft, Roadmaster, Mickey Thompson, Dick Cepek, Prometer, Milestar, Sumitomo, and Carlisle brand tires and Tube&Solid tubes.
As for the future, AWT will continue to increase its already sizeable market penetration with additional distribution in Texas and Alabama.