Modern Tire Dealer

Handbook 2019

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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P e r f o r m a n c e H a n d b o o k 2 0 1 9 24 A t least two dozen vehicles roll into the bays at Sports Car Tire Inc. in Wilmington, Del., every day. On busy days, the three bays turn over as many as 40 cars. And while the 26-year-old retail busi- ness, owned by Tom Cresswell and Les Tronzo, installs tires and wheels on all makes and models, it's known as the go-to place for owners of luxury vehicles, says Chris Misero, operations manager of Sports Car Tire. Seven out of 10 vehicles are high performance rides. Misero says the typical customer is pulling into the garage in one of these eight brands of vehicles: Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Land Rover, Jaguar, Tesla, Infiniti — or a Honda. e customers are just as likely to work as executives, doctors or lawyers as they are to be homemakers, he says. And while the overall customer base is mostly male, Misero says they all share a common trait. "ey care most about getting it right the first time," he says. at means they want the right tires from the get go. When they bring in their vehicle for a vibration issue, they expect it to be solved by the time they drive away from their service appointment. Misero says it's about "taking the extra step to make them feel satisfied. "It's not how expensive things are; it's the quality of service and knowledge that counts." e expertise extends far beyond the retail counter. Sports Car Tire also operates a wholesale business, selling tires, as well as tire and wheel packages, to new car dealers. But the real calling card is wheel repair and wheel refinishing. Misero says Sports Car Tire handles the wheel work for car dealerships and body shops throughout Delaware, as well as eastern Pennsylvania and Maryland. e company has shipped restored and refinished wheels to as far away as Alaska and Hawaii. Four of the company's 20 employees work full time in the wheel shop. "We're known as the fixers," Misero says. Other businesses that have tried to do their own wheel work oen turn it over to Sports Car Tire when the job doesn't go as planned. Some local shops send all of their damaged wheels to the business, and he says it's not uncommon for them to have their runner sit and wait until the job is done. In the winter time, the wheel shop can get so backed up that customers have waited a week for a wheel repair. "ere are a lot of potholes out there." And based on the customer reviews, Sports Car Tire is getting it right. One recent customer referred to the business as having "real Jedi masters working there." Another complimented the team for the "great tire selection, great price, plus not a mark on pristine wheels." Another customer kept it simple: "Would not go anywhere else." While many tire dealers work hard to solicit reviews on Google or Facebook, Misero says Sports Car Tire doesn't do that. ere's no follow-up text or email asking customers to go online. No reminder printed on the invoice. "I don't ask anyone to do anything." Sports Car Tire has kept its business tight around the tire. In addition to wheel straightening, the company offers ceramic coating and powder coating services, plus tire repair, tire rotations, wheel alignments and road force balancing. ere are no oil changes or brake services, or any other underhood or undercar automotive services on the menu. Tire and wheel service accounts for 40% of the overall business, Misero says. By far the most popular services are wheel refinishing and repair. Misero says bent wheels present plenty of opportunities for more sales. He estimates eight out of 10 vehicles on the road have a bent wheel. "On average, there are probably one or two bent wheels on every car that hits our li. "As cars hit our lifts, the first thing the guys do is spin every wheel on the vehicle. We check for trueness on every tire. Everybody in the shop knows this is how we start the job." SPOTTING DAMAGED WHEELS BOOSTS PROFITS D e a l e r P r o f i l e Joy Kopcha By Winter offers opportunity Sports Car Tire stresses the importance of winter tires to every performance vehicle owner, and reminds drivers to focus on air temperature rather than snowfall. "Forty degrees and below means putting a snow tire on your vehicle," says Chris Misero, operations manager. "It's 1,000-times bet- ter than a performance tire, or even an all-season." The business sells wheel and tire pack- ages all year long, but they're especially attractive to winter tire customers. Sports Car Tire offers seasonal tire storage, and Misero says, "Most of our wheel packages go on for the summer. That's typically when customers will take the factory stuff off, designate that as their winter wheels, and then put newer wheels on in the spring." EXPERTISE AND SERVICE COUNT AT SPORTS CAR TIRE High end vehicles are the norm at Sports Car Tire in Wilmington, Del. The business offers tire and wheel service from three bays, but also manages a wholesale business and wheel repair shop on its property, which encompasses a full city block.

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