Plaza Tire Service has been in business for 50 years..
Plaza Tire Service, Inc. was founded early in 1963 by Mr. Vernon (Pee Wee) Rhodes, originally known as Plaza Car Wash. At that time, the business was strictly a hand-operated car wash. The business did well except on rainy days; therefore, to shore up the company’s financial base, the business expanded into an auto clean-up and detailing service for local automobile dealerships. Along with servicing these vehicles, the company started selling tires to the dealers as they were needed.
The operation required a seven-day work week, using Sundays to purchase retreads, which were sold to the dealers. After awhile, a tire retreading company rented part of the car wash building, thus sharing the rent expenses and giving the company a convenient source of tires.
One year later, the retreading company met financial disaster and Plaza Car Wash purchased the retreading operation from the bank. A 1954 one-ton Chevrolet truck was included in the purchase. This truck began the tire wholesale route and retreads were distributed outside the local area.
In 1967, the business started purchasing and selling new tires. Gates Rubber and B.F. Goodrich were the first brands of tires sold. The first Dayton tires were purchased in 1967 with an opening credit line of $10,000.00. At the time this amount could almost buy a trailer-load of tires.
The business continued to grow and soon the company had three route trucks running, a car wash operating in full-swing, and the retreading shop worked through the night. It became necessary to purchase a tire changer to do business and was mounted on the sidewalk outside the car wash. All tire changes were performed along the street using a jack. Due to local regulations, the tire-changing system had to be stopped. At this time, a choice had to be made whether to remain in the car wash business or strictly sell tires.
On Labor Day in 1968, all car wash equipment was removed from the building, and the first Plaza Tire Service was opened. A Hunter Alignment Machine was added to the facility, but the business primarily consisted of tire sales.
In 1970, a second Plaza Tire Service was opened in Flat River, MO, which is now known as Park Hills. The third location was established in Poplar Bluff, MO and the fourth in Farmington, MO. All three of those outlying stores were closed and a wholesale/retail location was opened on South Kingshighway in St. Louis, MO.
Operations were opened in Columbia, MO, Springfield, IL, and Springfield, MO, which primarily consisted of wholesale activities. When fuel prices escalated in 1980, the company realized the need for retail service centers. Since that time, Plaza Tire Service, Inc. has expanded with an aggressive pace and now has 56 full-service locations as well as a successful wholesale operation. Mighty Auto Parts franchise was purchased in the spring of 1995 and Performance Quick Lube was opened on Siemers Drive in Cape Girardeau in the summer of 1998.
Plaza Tire Service now consists of 60 stores located throughout Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and Arkansas. Its newest store opened in December 2016 in Moberly, Mo.
All locations are open Monday through Saturday. Appointments are not needed but are accepted upon customer request.