This Is Vermont Tire & Service Inc.
We have proudly been servicing Central and Northern Vermont for over 30 years. Our knowledgeable staff is committed to giving our customers the best experience possible; delivering service and value that have been hallmarks of our retail stores.
We aim to educate our customers with information to make the choices about what tire is right for them. Because we are an independent tire dealer, we have no affiliation with one manufacturer, so we are free to make decisions based on your needs and requirements. We know your safety and comfort depend on how well we do our job. We want to make sure that your tires give you the maximum in performance and the best value for your dollar.
If you are a new customer, we hope you will give us the opportunity to show you why both our Burlington and Montpelier stores were chosen the Best Tire Store by the Best of Surveys in every year since 2007. If you are one of our many long time customers, we thank you for continuing to let us serve you in the best way possible!
Bob Rochefort was manager of the auto department of Montgomery Ward in Barre Vermont. With a year and a half old girl and a boy on the way, he and his wife, Sheila, came to the realization that they needed more money. He went to the store manager about potential opportunities and was told that the only way to move up would be to manage a store of his own in Portsmouth, New Hampshire or Poughkeepsie, New York. Being a Vermont boy through and through, neither of these were an option for Bob.
Around this time, Bob heard of a new gas station that was being opened by Sunoco in Montpelier. Over 50 mechanics were applying for franchise of the station. Bob had an ace up his sleeve, he wasn’t a mechanic. He was a manager and a salesman. Even though they had only given stations to mechanics in the past, he convinced them that by not being a mechanic he could sell the more difficult jobs that mechanics would pass up. And so, Bob’s Sunoco was opened.
With the opening of the station, Sunoco gave Bob 100 Kelly Springfield tires on terms expecting it would take the average 90 days to sell them. He sold them all in the first two weeks. They also told their stations that they should make a maximum of $10 profit per tire including installation. However, a representative from Uniroyal Tires stopped in to meet Bob. He told him that all the GM cars at the time came with Uniroyal Tires, but the dealers were frustrated because there wasn’t anywhere locally to handle their adjustments. The price Uniroyal was giving to handle adjustments was $10 plus mounting and balancing. Obviously, it was an easy decision to move ahead with the partnership. Seeing the opportunity, he sold Sheila’s prized Jeep CJ for his first container of tires. I will not tell you about the consequences of that deal, but before long Bob had two 40-foot trailers beside the station packed with tires. He had a successful run with Bob’s Sunoco for 11 years, but it was clear to everyone involved that his ambitions had completely out grown the little gas station.
The land where the first Vermont Tire was built was originally going to be purchased by Grand Union. However, fate saw that deal fall through and allowed Bob to buy the land.
The store was built with plans provided from Uniroyal. They wanted the store to be different from anything in the area. It had a big waiting room. Shiela Insisted that there were toys and books for kids and all changeover tires would be placed in bags and seats would be covered. She argued that most tire buyers were women and making a nice environment for them to wait and keeping their cars clean was a priority. Vermont Tire & Service Inc. in Montpelier, Vermont opened for business in November of 1982.
Vermont Tire grew because it was built on simple philosophies. Treat people right and they will come back. Never sell something a customer doesn’t need or want. Always walk the high road. If you make a mistake, make it right. He would famously tell customers that he didn’t want to sell them tires, he wanted to sell their sister, brother, uncle, parents and best friend tires. He knew that if he treated people right, the word would spread.
Their original goal was to break even the first year. They were profitable from day one.
Bob opened the first location in South Burlington in 1984 on San Remo Drive and moved to their current location at 1877 Williston Rd. in 1990.
Wholesale had always been a part of Vermont Tire & Service and Bob’s Sunoco before that. In 2005, Wholesale finally became too big to be based out of the retail stores. It became its own company and moved to 3 Graves Street in Montpelier, which is where its headquarters remains today.