Maine’s VIP Tires Comes to W. Lebanon

Valley News Business Writer
Monday, June 11, 2018

Maine-based VIP Tires & Service has taken over the building formerly occupied by City Tire in West Lebanon and will be opening a new tire and auto service center at the location later this summer.

John Quirk, chief executive of VIP Tires in Auburn, Maine, said the building will be completely renovated and installed with the latest automotive service equipment and technology.

In addition to tires, VIP Tires provides all the basics in auto service such as brakes, alignments, air conditioning, shocks and tune-ups. The location at Railroad Ave. just off Main Street in West Lebanon has been vacant since City Tire closed in October after being there for 20 years.

“It’s a pretty tired-looking building right now,” Quirk said. “We’re going to pretty much be gutting it, putting in new electrical and heating and everything.”

He estimated the cost of the project could approach $250,000 when completed.

Family-owned VIP Tires, which was started by Quirk’s grandfather in 1929, has 57 outlets and employs 500 people at locations in Maine and Vermont. The chain’s closest service centers to West Lebanon are in Claremont and Woodsville.

Quirk called West Lebanon, with its proximity to Interstate 89, the I-91 interchange and Route 12A shopping corridor, “a great retail location. We should have been there years ago.”

The West Lebanon VIP Tires location will employ eight full-time employees, including two master technicians, and be open seven days a week. Quirk said he expects to add four part-time employees during the fall and spring tire-changing seasons.

Quirk said VIP Tires’ “mission is to earn an automotive customer for life. And we do that by having highly trained technicians that enjoy helping people … It’s not about fixing cars, it’s about earning the trust of customers.”

Bike Tour Firm Sold

A Maryland couple have quit the corporate world and moved to Woodstock and acquired bike tour company Discovery Bicycle Tours.

Scott and Thistle Cone, who just relocated to Woodstock from Maryland, have taken over Discovery Bicycle from previous owners, Larry and Dawn Niles, who had operated the company for 27 years.

“We’re both avid bike riders and we’ve have also been involved in marketing, so this is way to put our interest and passion for bicycling to work on a daily basis,” Thistle Cone said about the reason she and her husband took the entrepreneurial plunge.

Discovery Bicycle Tours organizes bicycling touring vacations with tour guides, van support and bike roadside repair service for riders on tour routes. Riders typically stay at country inns along the way.

The Thistles previously worked at Merkle, a data-driven marketing company based in Columbia, Md., where Scott was a senior vice president and Thistle had been a copywriter. Thistle Cone is also a 1983 graduate of Dartmouth College.

The new owners have retained the company’s Woodstock-based four-person staff as well as about 20 bicycle tour guides around the country and overseas.

Discovery Bicycle Tours was founded by Bob McElwain in 1977 as Bike Vermont, who later sold it to the Niles.

The company changed its name to Discovery Bicycle Tours in 2010 when it began organizing tours worldwide.

Norwich ArchitectUndertakes Cornish Project

Opera North has selected Norwich architect Andrew Garthwaite to undertake the preservation and rehabilitation of the historic Charles C. Beaman House at Blow-Me-Down Farm in Cornish.

Lebanon’s Opera North entered into an agreement with the National Park Service last year to stabilize and repair the Beaman farmhouse, parts of which date to the late 1700s, so as to adapt the building for Opera North’s music festival activities at Blow-Me-Down Farm, the organization said in a news release.

Garthwaite, an Upper Valley native and graduate of the Yale School of Architecture, is a partner in the firm Haynes & Garthwaite.

The firm’s other renovation projects include the Federal-style Dartmouth College president’s residence as well as the restoration of two artists residences at Cornish Colony.

Financial Services FirmReturns To Lebanon

Edward Jones has opened a new branch office in Lebanon, returning to the city after a several-year absence.

The new branch office, located at 2 South Park St., is staffed by financial adviser Roland Swasey and branch office administrator Megan Rae.

Previously, Swasey spent 23 years as general manager of the former restaurant Everything But Anchovies in Hanover.

Edward Jones also has branch offices at Palmer Court in White River Junction and in downtown Claremont.

News items of interest to the local business community are published in the Business & Money section of the Sunday Valley News.

Submissions may be sent by email to: biznotes@vnews.com (high-resolution photographs may be attached in .jpg format).

Items are edited for clarity and space.


A branch of the financial advisory firm Edward Jones is located  at 2 South Park St. in Lebanon. A Business Note in the Sunday Valley News gave an incorrect street address.