By WENDY BEATTY — A Hyattsville fixture since 1999, The Tire Place closed its doors to customers on Dec. 23, 2018. This time it’s permanent.
According to owner Yanira Castro, she could no longer sustain the business, which was located at 5504 Baltimore Avenue. She cited a recent decline in business and longstanding contention with Prince George’s County over licenses, permits and building codes as reasons for the closing.
Castro said she has struggled to get the necessary licenses and permits since as far back as 2004, when she and her husband purchased the property and business from the previous owner.
Castro said that initially the city and then the county took issue with The Tire Place working on cars outside in the parking lot, limiting them to working on one car at a time since they only had one service bay. But getting permission to add another bay or for any other renovation was a long, fruitless battle that drained her resources and left her exhausted.
“They don’t want auto mechanics,” said Castro. “They want nothing to do with cars in this area of Hyattsville. The only available permits are for restaurants and other retail.”
Additionally, in 2017 a car careened off of Baltimore Avenue and crashed into the shop, which shut the business down for three months. According to Castro, the lost profits took a heavy toll and business has been in a slump since then.
When contacted for comment, Councilmember Kevin Ward (Ward 1) said he was aware that the business would be closing and that he reached out to Castro to offer assistance.
“We work very hard to support and be a partner to local businesses in our city,” said Ward. “Unfortunately, The Tire Place is a prime example of county regulations not assisting local businesses in a way that helps them flourish. We need more guidance for small business owners in these types of situations.”
Prince George’s County did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.
The Tire Place has had many firm supporters over the years. Online reviews indicate that their most appreciated service was flat-tire repair.
“I really appreciated The Tire Place,” said Lara Payne, a resident of Brentwood. “They were always professional and never tried to upsell us on pricier tires. We’ve used Costco for tires, and the prices compared, but the service at Costco usually takes an hour or more. At The Tire Place I was usually in and out within 20 minutes.”
As for Yanira Castro, the decline of her business has drained her resources and left her exhausted. She is looking forward to some much needed downtime before planning her next endeavor: “I can’t continue like this. My health has gone down the drain. I think I just need to recover.”