Gerald’s Tires and Brakes has humble beginnings, and is only what it is today by the help and support of countless individuals, employees, customers, and of course, our Lord. We have been truly blessed, and cannot extend our gratitude enough.
Gerald’s can be traced all the way back to 1964, when a man named Howard W. Watts opened a retreat plant called Recaps, Inc. off Azalea Drive in North Charleston’s Stark Industrial Park. Production of retreads reached a high of 1500 units per day and were marketed through independent route salesman who would purchase and resell to various retailers throughout the Southeast. One of these route salesmen purchased approximately 1000 tires a week. When this salesman left the company, Howard and a friend John Sullivan jumped at the chance to open up a store that they had been scheming about for years – a “retread only” tire store – and recoup the aforementioned lost tire sales.
With these ideas in hand, Gerald’s Recaps in the bright Orange building was born. The first store, located in an old two-bay Texaco gas station at Savannah Hwy. and Magnolia Rd.,opened in 1974.
So just how DID Gerald’s get its name? Enter Gerald Davis, a company delivery man who worked for Howard at the recap plant. The guys gave Gerald the opportunity to run the new retread prototype store, and his name was placed on the building to add a little motivation for the man who was doing the manual work. The idea worked and sales grew rapidly. Gerald and John became partners and opened an additional four stores in the Charleston area. Howard took the concept outside of Charleston and before it was over the number grew to 27 orange tire stores throughout the Southeast; Johnny’s Recaps in Augusta, Ga., Dee’s Recaps in Columbia, SC, Robert’s Recaps in Jacksonville, Fl, and more. Each was named after the manager. The stores did well as they were known for their “$9.95 does it all” recap deal. Soon, though, the price of radial tires began dropping. as the prices crept closer to the price of retreads, fewer retreads were sold. Sales declined until Gerald reached a point of no profit, and he sold the stores to Bill Watts, Howard’s son and manager of the retread plant for several years.
Bill, with the help of a great management team, made up of David Ard, his brother-in-law, and others who had been associated with Howard, and a quality crew already existing in the stores, began to restructure from the “retread only” to the present day new tire and auto service stores. Bill and his staff have always tried to treat patrons of their establishments with honesty, integrity, and courtesy. We look to our customers as our friends. You do have a friend at Gerald’s.
Bill Watts – Chief Executive Officer
David Ard – VP and General Manager