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DAVID EARLY TIRES TO MARK ACQUISITION OF 5 GOODYEAR STORES

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David Early Tires Inc. has acquired five Goodyear company-owned stores and says it will distribute Goodyear tires at discounted prices throughout its 19-store chain.

Some 300 David Early and Goodyear employees were scheduled to attend a dinner and presentation from Goodyear Wednesday night to kick off the "new relationship" between the two companies."While our growth along the Wasatch Front has been rapid in the past, this purchase is our most ambitious move ever," said David Early, president of the Salt Lake-based firm, touted as the largest independent tire retailer in the Mountain West.

Early said the five Goodyear stores are all located in Utah and will bring the company's total employment to some 275.

According to a Goodyear spokesman, recent takeovers in the tire industry have left Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., based in Akron, Ohio, as one of the last American-owned tire manufacturers. The spokesman said annual worldwide tire sales for the company exceed $8 billion, making Goodyear the world's largest tire manufacturer.

Alan Hansen, vice president of operations for David Early, said the type of arrangement concluded between his company and Goodyear is unprecedented.

"It's a historic landmark agreement in that we have formed an ongoing relationship with Goodyear that goes beyond buying their stores and tires," said Hansen.

David Early opened his first tire store in 1972 at 3300 South and 900 East. According to the trade journal "Tire Business," the company is now the 32nd largest independent dealer in the United States. Prior to entering the business, Early was a director of manufacturing engineering for Eimco, a Salt Lake-based manufacturer of underground mining equipment.

All David Early stores are company owned. Future expansion plans include the Wasatch Front, Phoenix and Las Vegas.