ROADRUNNER TYRE TRADING LTD
ROADRUNNER TYRE TRADING LTD

Celebrating 25 years of Family business

Roadrunner Tyres - Established 1st Novemeber 1999 

 

Roadrunner Tyre Trading is celebrating 25 years of being a local, family run enterprise – successfully serving the vehicles of North Lancashire and now, South Cumbria, for a quarter of a century. In 2024 we are celebrating our history, our journey, our team and our customers old and new. Join us on this trip down memory lane to find out more…

 

Roadrunner Tyres was founded, and is still run, by Andrew and Barbara Hodgkinson. Former owner operators of a small haulage company, they decided to have a change of pace from Andrew working away truck driving to running a business that would allow him to be home every night and able to spend more time with his, then, small children – one of whom with serious additional needs.

The couple identified a gap in the local market for a reliable tyre company, supplying and fitting tyres to the local truck drivers, whom they knew plenty of due to their years in the haulage business. Andrew decided to test out the idea by hiring a van and trying to sell tyres he bought on sale or return from the local wholesaler, TRS. After a week or so, interest was high and the tyres were sold so they decided to go for it and on the 1st November 1999, Roadrunner Tyres was born.

Andrew continued to sell and fit tyres, whilst Barbara had the bookkeeping in hand (and looking after the kids, including homeschooling Joe as schools suitable for his additional needs were lacking in the area). After a while, a lockup garage became available at Chippendale’s yard, Cabus and the opportunity to share this with another new start up business – perfect. Both Roadrunner Tyres and Cabus Autos moved into the building and successfully shared this for several years.

 

 Having a permanent base meant that the business could expand into car and van tyres, as well as take on staff and vehicles to be able to work mobile. This is when our longest serving member of staff joined the team, Rick, who is still working within the company today.

Roadrunner was approached by Bridgestone, First Stop to become a appointed stockist of Bridgestone and Firestone tyres. This not only came with discounts and perks, but also the help and advice of a business development manager (BDM). In this respect, Andrew and Barbara struck gold as they were assigned the legend that was Andy Bucknall. Not only did Andy help Andrew and Barbara develop the business but he also became a close friend until his sad passing on New Year’s eve 2016. Andy was responsible for encouraging the couple’s more whacky ideas (including hand drawn cartoons as newspaper adverts, a crash test dummy running amok at shows and many more).

After a busy few years of running the business and building their own home, Andrew and Barbara realised that Roadrunner was outgrowing the lock up and they needed to move to bigger premises. So, they went straight from building their home in Pilling to building a purpose built depot on the Cabus site within a few weeks. The depot opened in December 2004 with their first company event which included a F1 driving simulator, a rally car on the ramp which was sponsored by the company (belonging to Andrew Benson, who eventually became son in law – that wasn’t in the sponsorship deal!) and even a hotpot supper. It was a great evening filled with family, friends and customers celebrating this huge step in the Roadrunner journey.

Once they were settled into the new depot, the business boomed and they expanded into various different aspects of tyres including servicing building sites, trucks, agricultural, cars, vans and 4x4s. The company also grew in size, taking on more staff – including Eric Hodgkinson, Andrew’s Dad, an ex farmer and pub landlord who joined the team ‘a couple of mornings a week’ to help out with deliveries. A couple of mornings grew to 5 days a week and he soon became a well loved corner post of the Roadrunner workshop and could be seen all over in his little van with his name on the door and ‘no pies left in this van overnight’ on the back.

In 2008 the recession hit and the building industry almost closed overnight, the company had to move quickly to diversify so Andrew went back to his farming routes and developed a specialism in agricultural tyres. This side of the company quickly grew and is now Andrew’s full time job running vans across north Lancashire and south Cumbria as well as personally dealing with conversions and quotes for all the agricultural sector. Roadrunner is proud of it’s farming roots and serving the local farming community for 25 years. We proudly back British Farming and support them as much as we possibly can.

In 2010 Jade, Andrew and Barbara’s daughter, officially joined the business ‘for a few months’ – still there 14 years later – making the business 3 generations of the Hodgkinson family working under one roof. Jade got a grounding in all areas of the company including sales, deliveries, agricultural, truck, HR, marketing, book keeping and accounts and still keeps a close eye across all business departments – otherwise known as general problem solver and issue mender/creator!

Around 2011/12 the company decided to play to their strengths and stop carrying out truck work to concentrate on the agricultural side of the business as well as developing the depot services to include mechanical work, wheel alignment and servicing. This was when Andrew developed his love of 4x4s and started working with General Grabber, ending up on the tyre testing for the General AT3.

 Roadrunner grew as a business and as a family, with Jade getting married (to that rally driver from the open evening) and having two boys, who now know more about tyres than most adults. The boys are present at most work events now, and Jack – now 8 – is determined to follow in his Mum’s footsteps and can usually be found handing out leaflets at shows.

In 2019, after a brave battle against the big C, we lost Eric. Saying Goodbye to our Dad, Grandad and Great Grandad was an incredibly hard time for the Hodgkinson’s but also for the Roadrunner family to whom he was like an extra Grandad and the workshop was not the same without his dry humour, quick banter and caring nature. The same week as we laid Eric to rest, the company celebrated 20 years of Roadrunner with a meal out and an awards ceremony dubbed ‘The Eric’s’ highlighting the team’s best attributes.

 

As we all know, a few months later COVID-19 hit which changed the world as we knew it. As the lockdowns hit Andrew and Barbara tried to take the responsible path in temporarily closing the depot to protect staff and customers. That lasted all of half a day before the phone was ringing off the hook with essential workers with punctures and tyre issues. So, they took a different path and re-opened with a skeleton staff, social distancing and the most vulnerable staff on furlough. It was a testing time but the team worked through and made it out of the other side whilst still supporting the customers who had to keep working throughout the pandemic. Not least, the agricultural community whom had no choice but to keep working to keep the country fed.

 

In April 2022, the opportunity arose for the company to acquire another depot, which had been previously run as a tyre depot, on the J36 Rural Auction Centre. Andrew, Barbara and Jade decided it was an opportunity not to be missed and went ahead with the endeavour. The team had a very busy 6 weeks to pull everything together to open the new depot and in June 2022 the company’s second depot, situated on the J36 Rural Auction Centre was opened. There was work to do to build the business and get to know the customers in the area. The first year of running the new depot alongside the existing business was challenging in many ways, not least staffing, and after several months of being short staffed Andrew and Barbara had a big decision to make. Due to the low staffing level, the company was struggling to run both depots to their usual high standard and the whole team was under a lot of pressure. The decision was made to prioritise the family and team’s wellbeing and close the Cabus retail depot in order to consolidate the great team they had into one depot. This was not an easy decision by any means, and it meant leaving some of the great longstanding customers in the Garstang area.

Since closing the Cabus retail centre, the company has been able to focus on doing what they do best, delivering high service standards, quality products and honest advice to their customers. We have been delighted that a huge percentage of our customers have decided to follow us to the Crooklands depot, 20 minutes up the road from the Cabus base.

The Cabus base is still in use by the agricultural team for warehousing and running the Lancashire vans, still reliably servicing the plant and agricultural customers of North Lancashire like they have done for the last 25 years. The agricultural side of the business is continuing to grow and the company is now one of the biggest agricultural tyre retailers in the area offering a vast array of tyres from big brands as well as reliable tyre repair services across the North Lancashire and South Cumbria area.

Of course our area has not always stayed confined to North Lancashire and South Cumbria. Roadrunner has had customers all over the world including forestry tyres to Africa, Agricultural tyres to Uraguay and Row Crop tyres to Saudi Arabia. We rarely say no to a job, includinh Andrew being sent on a plant check to Liberia!

 

In their 25 years in business, the company has seen ups and downs, ridden the storm of recessions and seen the height of the business boom. Running any business has it’s challenging times but the Roadrunner team have proved that they are here to stay and will continue to develop their services in both the North Lancashire and South Cumbria areas. Continuing to offer the highest service standards, quality products that we know and trust and honest advice, always. Roadrunner is proud to have served the community for the last 25 years and we are excited to see where the next 25 years takes us.

We would like to thank our team for their hard work, dedication and good sense of humour – this adventure wouldn’t be the same without you.

And our customers, the ones who have recently found us, the ones who have been visiting us for a while and the longstanding ones who are now part of the furniture (including our very first customer who is still a regular customer to this day), Thank you. Without you there wouldn’t be a business to run and we hope we can continue to look after your tyres for many years to come.

 

Roadrunner Tyre Trading Ltd - Your local tyre specialist, on the road and in the field

Exceptional Service – Quality Products – Honest Advice, For 25 years

 

 

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