Harvey S. Firestone (1868-1938) founded The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio, in August 1900, and started marketing solid rubber tires for carriage wheels. Firestone joined the retail store arena offering basic car service and tire sales in the mid-1920s when the original Firestone Service Centers were opened. The 1940s saw the emergence of the Firestone Home & Auto Store — a store concept of a one-stop retailer offering everything from automotive services and tires to large household appliances, televisions, toys, bicycles, lawnmowers and even outboard motors with the Firestone name brand affixed. The evolution of the retail stores continued with Firestone Complete Car Service opening in the 1960s offering expanded diagnostic under-car and under-hood service.
During the mid-1970s, Firestone Central Sales was developed to provide Firestone customers with a full range of credit services. Today this entity operates under the name of Credit First National Association (CFNA™), which is a federally chartered limited purpose credit card bank and currently issues 25 different credit cards. CFNA responsibilities include approving credit for new accounts, evaluating credit limits for existing accounts, issuing credit cards, customer service, collections and credit card marketing.
In the late 1970s, the retail group, in an effort to re-focus its business solely on automotive service and tire sales, began to phase out the sale of all non-auto related merchandise. Shortly thereafter, in 1981, the Firestone MasterCare® Car Service concept was introduced and established as a premier brand of quality service being delivered to customers in a consistent and distinctive manner. In the late 1980s, this concept evolved into Firestone Tire & Service Centers.
Bridgestone Corporation, founded in 1931 in Kurume, Japan, purchased Firestone in 1988, transforming the company into the world’s largest manufacturer of tires and other rubber products. Bridgestone and Firestone operations in the Americas were consolidated in 1990 as Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. (BFS).
In 1992, the retail group introduced the ExpertTire™ brand. With 120 store locations nationwide, ExpertTire offers guaranteed low prices on a large selection of brand name tires and provides automotive service and maintenance.
In 2001, BFS announced its majority ownership stake in Morgan Tire & Auto, LLC (MTA), then the nation’s second-largest independent retailer of tires. MTA owns and operates Tires Plus™ and Wheel Works™ retail locations as well as a wholesale division, Tire Wholesale Warehouse (TWW).
In an effort to enhance its core business units and to address its customers’ needs and wants, BFS reorganized its corporate structure in December of 2001. Today, the retail group, Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC (BSRO), does business under a holding company, Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM).
In 2004, the retail subsidiary created Firestone Complete Fleet Care™ to cater to the needs of vehicle fleet owners. Offering more maintenance bays than any other fleet service provider in the world, Firestone Complete Fleet Care provides purchasing programs featuring competitive prices, centralized invoices and nationwide warranties at nearly 5,000 service locations across the country.
In 2005, the retail operation introduced a new name, Firestone Complete Auto Care™, and new layout for its retail stores operating under the name of Firestone Tire & Service Centers. These updates continue to enhance the entire customer experience. The new stores are designed to offer a more pleasant environment, more convenient service and more personalized approach in the areas of maintenance, repairs and tires.
Today, BSRO is headquartered in Bloomingdale, Ill., and operates the largest network of company-owned automotive service providers in the world — nearly 2,200 tire and vehicle service centers across the United States — including Firestone Complete Auto Care™, Tires Plus™, ExpertTire™ and Wheel Works™ store locations. Credit First National Association and Firestone Complete Fleet Care™ operations are also part of BSRO. BSRO is a member of the Bridgestone Americas family of companies.
For further information, please visit our websites at www.BSRO.com, www.FirestoneCompleteAutoCare.com, www.TiresPlus.com, www.ExpertTire.com, www.WheelWorks.net, www.CFNA.com and www.FirestoneCompleteFleetCare.com.