Founded by Bill Fountain in 1956 in Wainwright, Alberta, Fountain Tire started out as a small double-bay garage. After the company's initial inception, it did not take long for Fountain Tire to grow. A dozen stores were located in and around central and northern Alberta, not far from the company's beginning in Wainwright. By following Fountain's partnership spirit and management system, Fountain Tire has now grown into what it is today: a nationally established brand with over 140 stores spanning as far west as Victoria, British Columbia and as far east as Thunder Bay, Ontario.
From the start, partnerships have been the key ingredient to Fountain Tire's long-term success. Not only was the company growing, but Fountain Tire store managers were also given the opportunity to grow their own careers within the company. Fountain Tire's unique ownership structure helped store managers go beyond just the operation of the store. When managers proved they could profitably meet the needs of auto owners and agricultural and oil patch customers, they were given the opportunity to own the business and become 50/50 partners in their operation. This philosophy is still in place today.
Fountain Tire continued to grow over the many years that followed, and by 1976, it had expanded to 19 stores. Sadly, 1976 was also a year for mourning. Just 20 years after opening his first store, Bill Fountain was killed in a car accident. After Bill's tragic passing, the Fountain Tire management team vowed to continue running the company just as Bill Fountain had, with a strong focus on great customer service and partnerships.
The 1980s were a busy time and full of expansion activities for Fountain Tire: a move to the new head office based in southeast Edmonton, a change in Fountain Tire's expansion strategy, and an exciting bold partnership formed with one of the world's best tire manufacturers. By 1984, the number of Fountain Tire stores totalled 30.
On September 24, 1987, Fountain Tire sold 49% interest of its business to Goodyear Canada; this move was a first for the industry, yet has ultimately proven to be a mutually beneficial partnership for both companies. Not only was Goodyear able to enjoy its partnership with a premier Western Canadian tire retailer, but Fountain Tire was proud to be involved with an excellent manufacturer who also had an established marketing presence. This new partnership certainly enabled Fountain Tire to pursue its retail expansion strategy, and focus on being an exceptional retailer. In turn, Goodyear would focus on what it did best: manufacturing.
By the end of the 1990s, 100 new Fountain Tire stores had been added across Western Canada. As the number of Fountain Tire stores increased over the years, so did the size and nature of the Fountain Tire head office. With partnership in mind, the head office went beyond the role of supplier of retail goods to become more of a resource centre for the stores. It provided support in the areas of purchasing, point-of-sale systems, training, accounting, credit, insurance, legal services, human resources, and marketing. This unique partnership structure has helped Fountain Tire to be named one of the "50 Best Managed Companies" every year since 1994. In addition, Fountain Tire became a Platinum Club Member in December 2003 for its consistency as one of "Canada's 50 Best." Today, it continues to look for opportunities to expand its operations in existing markets, as well as new markets.
View Fountain Tire's historical timeline.