BOZEMAN - With all the snow on still on the ground and the threat for more wintery weather in the forecast, people are flocking to the tire shops around Gallatin County - and dealing with a long wait to get their winter tires put on.
“From what I’ve heard from customers over the phone and from what I’ve seen at other shops, everybody is full to capacity for what they can do and what they can handle in their parking lots,” said Jeremy Feistner, sales manager for Big O Tires. “Just like we are. Everybody that needs to have tires done today is pretty much in trouble because it won’t happen.”
Big O Tires is just one of those tire shops that are seeing an influx of people.
“We are absolutely slammed,” said Feistner. “Every morning so far for the past week, since the snow began to fall, we’ve had between 30-60 people at our front door waiting for us by 8 a.m. by the time we’re open. Unfortunately, we’re only able to handle about 20 people a day, so that’s left a lot of customers out in the snow waiting to get their tires on.”
“We are crazy busy, selling new tires, snow tires, all tires, any kind of tires,” added Archie Hammond, a mechanic for Big O Tires.
Feistner added that people have just procrastinated to get the annual chore done and now that there is snow on the ground, people are flooding into the tire shops all over town.
“They need their tires right now,” said Feistner. “You know, we had a beautiful week before it snowed, so everybody decided ‘I’m not going to do it until it snowed.’ And now that it has, we are completely filled to capacity. Thankfully we’ve had a lot of patient people who have been willing to show up the next morning and leave their car and continue to try to get in and get done. We do first come, first serve as opposed to appointments so we can try to get absolutely as many people in as we possibly can.”
And for drivers who haven’t been able to get their tires switched over to winter?
“You know, if you’re on the roads with tires that aren’t very good and have a vehicle that doesn’t handle well, be patient, leave early, keep a distance between you and the care ahead of you,” said Feistner. “Just make sure you’re doing the best you can to drive safely. Go slow, if you have to brake, tap on the brake, don’t just slam on it. If you tap on it, your chance of actually correcting a slide is excellent.”
Feistner can empathize with procrastinators.
“I completely empathize,” he said. “I’m one of those people that put things off until the last minute as well. But once again, recognize that we are doing the very best that we can to help as many people as we can. Be patient. But unfortunately, we only have so many men to be able to do these tire swaps and so much time in the day to get it done.”
To keep up with supply and demand with customers, Big O Tires has a hiring sign out on their front lawn.
“We’re hiring because we need the help,” said Feistner. “I mean, we just are not able to get done what we want to get done, so we’re looking for good experienced people that can come right in and jump into this job and start being efficient and helping us help more customers.
Most of the tire stores in the area are first come, first serve and have a waiting list of up to 2 weeks.
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