Tulare Firestone, Inc./TF Tire & Service

Tulare Firestone, Inc./TF Tire & Service is a full service tire and automotive service company.  They specialize in the sales and service of tires for automobiles, pickups, medium trucks, agriculture and earth moving equipment.  They are one of the largest distributors of tires for agriculture use in the Western United States.  In addition to tires, they also perform automotive service, preventative maintenance service, as well as other minor repair work.

The Just family founded Tulare Home and Auto Supply Co., the predecessor to Tulare Firestone, Inc./TF Tire & Service in the 1940’s at 362 So. “K” Street. This is the current site of the Tulare retail store today.  This site began in the 1920’s as the corporation yard for the City of Tulare.  Since then, it has housed a Studebaker dealership, a Coca-Cola bottling plant, a Smart and Final Store, and finally the original building.  The first store sold appliances, lawn mowers and bicycles, as well as tires. 

Tulare Firestone, Inc./TF Tire & Service first started in 1952 and was incorporated on October 11, 1954 with William Ryan, Frances S. Ryan, Donald Vincelle, and Valine Vincelle as the first stockholders.  Over time, in the late 1950’s Octave “Red” Louviere and Frances Louviere bought out the stock holdings of the Vincelle and Ryan families.  In October of 1971, Richard “Dick” Johnson and his wife Marlene acquired a portion of the corporation’s stock from the Louviere family.  Shortly following, in February of 1974, Jerome B. & Bernice N. Munroe bought the Louviere family’s remaining holdings in the corporation.  The Munroe’s half of the company was sold to Lionel J. & Vicki L. Pires in October of 1975.  The Pires’ acquired the remaining shares from the Johnson family in October of 1984 and have been the sole shareholders ever since.

A major event in the history of Tulare Firestone occurred on July 9th, 1981.  At 9:00 a.m. a major fire destroyed the office, warehouse, and retreading plant of the “K” Street location.  The fire took three days to completely extinguish.  In April of 1982, a new, 8 bay, 12,000-sq. ft. location was opened at the site of the catastrophic fire.  This building was later expanded to 17 bays and in December of 2001 a new 25,000-sq.ft commercial truck facility was opened to better serve the market.  Today the Tulare facility is a 25 bay center that covers almost 40,000-sq. ft. of space in downtown Tulare.  This fire, as bad as it seemed at the time, allowed them to rebuild their new, state of the art facility that they operate out of today. 

Today Tulare Firestone, Inc. operates nine facilities covering an over 200-mile stretch of California’s agriculturally rich San Joaquin Valley.  They are one of the largest distributors of tires for agriculture equipment in the Western United States.  A fleet of eighteen service trucks provides around the clock tire service to farming and trucking operations through-out Central California from Merced to Bakersfield.  Their team includes 135 highly trained members ready to serve their customers’ needs from the smallest wheelbarrow to the largest eight-wheel tractor. They operate two retail and commercial tire centers in Tulare, (the one downtown and the newer store on Prosperity Ave). Expansion outside of Tulare began in 1993, with the opening of a facility in Exeter, CA.  They now have additional tire centers in Corcoran, Delano, Tipton and Chowchilla. In 1997, Tire World Car Care Center, Inc. was incorporated, with Tulare Firestone owning 51% of the stock and Dave Nannini owning 49%.  The corporation currently operates retail and commercial tire centers in Los Banos and Merced. 

 In addition, Tulare operates a separate warehousing operation in Tulare that was opened in 1996 to supply their facilities as well as providing tires and related materials to other tire dealers in the entire State of California.

They have grown and prospered as a company because of their commitment to customer service.  They firmly believe that their customers are king. They say they have nothing to sell, but their service!!  They ask each employee to think of the best service they have experienced anywhere and give 110% of that service to every one of their customers, every day.  They are very thankful for their success, and look forward to many more years of continued success.

Linda Ruminer

Archivist-Historian

Tulare Historical Museum