First snow keeps Anchorage tire shops busy with winter changeover
The first sign of winter brought in big business for Johnson’s Tire Service when many people awoke to snow on Friday morning and realized they still had summer tires on their vehicles.
“It’s a little insane,” said Johnson’s manager Michael Hagler. “It’s a whole ‘nother monster to work in a tire shop in changeover season.”
The folks who put off tire changeover found themselves in a long line with plenty of fellow procrastinators.
“I was waiting until this weekend to do it anyway,” said Justin Gonka. “I wasn’t expecting the snow to hit quite yet.”
Customers started lining up at 6:45 a.m. and by the time the doors opened at 8 a.m., people were wrapped around the inside of the store.
“Before the snow, I anticipated no one would be here,” said Randy Easley. “I was surprised with 25 people ahead of me.”
The mechanics are quick; they can swap out summer tires for those with studs in about a half hour. With the influx of people, it was still up to a 10-hour wait for people to get their cars back.
“Everyone rushes in. Every year it’s the same thing. We’re prepared for it,” Hagler said.
The Johnson’s crew expected to change over about 200 cars on Friday. They said it would stay that busy for the next few weeks.
“Best bet, plan to leave it for five or six hours,” said Hagler. “That’s just the way it goes. We’ll crank them out as fast as we can and get everyone in and out.”
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