Modern Tire Dealer

APR 2019

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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Page 23 of 85

M T D A p r i l 2 0 1 9 22 P r o g r a m G r o u p s I n the 18 years since Michael Sullivan le the corporate world and bought a tire store in California, he's quadrupled that business' sales. But he admits he hasn't done it alone. "I'm just a little guy out in the middle of nowhere," he says. Sullivan's Tire Pros is located in Oakhurst, Calif., about 15 miles away from the southern entrance to Yosemite National Park. In the beginning, Sullivan struggled to pay the bills and looked for help. He joined Independent Tire Dealers Group LLC (ITDG). "I knew other dealers that were part of ITDG, and they were members for the same reason I was looking to be — ITDG is focused on the independent dealer, and providing them with programs they could not possibly negotiate on their own. It's the leveraging of the mass, and leveraging of the brotherhood." For Sullivan, one of the drivers was ITDG's oil program. His business includes two dedicated quick lube bays, plus the oil changes that occur in his other service bays. "I could never get a consistent oil program; it was fluctuating so greatly. When I looked at their oil program, it was so simple." He started ordering Continental- and Cooper-brand tires from ITDG, which he says "really helped us survive. For us, ITDG was really essential in getting over some hurdles. Since then, it's just brought value to our business in so many ways." Sullivan's Tire Pros has expanded over the years, and now does about $3.2 million in sales a year. But as the name of his tire dealership implies, Sullivan isn't a member of just one program group. He's also a Tire Pros dealer through American Tire Distributors Inc. "Tire Pros has been good to our business. ITDG is essential to our business," Sullivan says. "I don't see them in being in competition with one another. I think both can work together in different ways." Tire Pros is a national retail brand, and Sullivan says the group provides him with a marketing platform that helps him improve his business. ITDG is focused on procure- ment and leveraging the membership to help dealers with everything from tires and oil to auto parts and workers compensation programs. "I think of it as the best of both worlds." BIG O TIRES Offered by: TBC Corp. Website: How many stores do members oper- ate? 455 How do you help drive traffic to a dealer's brick and mortar location? We provide award-winning, multi-channel marketing, which includes resources for both digital and print campaigns. Plus, we provide quality services for consumers. What tools do you employ to help dealers in the digital age? Our promotions are powerful, with TV, radio, print, direct mail and digital elements. We provide digital marketing resources and expertise. We also help dealers with customer relationship management (CRM) and search engine marketing (SEM), and offer a brand reputa- tion management program. What's your key selling point to attract new dealers? Big O Tires offers a steady, sustainable and growing business opportunity. TBC Corp. provides a strong backbone of support, and there are incentives. One example is the waiving of the initial franchise fee for eligible first responders on an initial location. There's a similar fee waiver through the company's program for U.S. military veterans. What can members expect from you in the next five years? Our footprint will continue to grow to meet the needs of con- sumers. Big O Tires was recently ranked No. 1 in the category in the Franchise 500 by Entrepreneur. e brand has proven that it knows tires and automotive service, and its increase in sales will continue into the future. INDEPENDENT TIRE DEALERS Offered by: Community Wholesale Tire Distributing Website: Number of members/participants: 150 How many stores do they operate? 168 List your group's top 10 selling brands: Bridgestone, Firestone, Goodyear, Kelly, Toyo, Continental, General, Kumho, Pirelli and Maxxis. How do you help drive traffic to a deal- er's brick and mortar location? Google pay per click advertising and sports marketing. What tools do you employ to help dealers in the digital age? A website with live pricing that is customizable by dealer. What's your key selling point to attract new dealers? We are a family-owned dis- tributor that empowers its employees to make frontline decisions to solve customers' needs and problems. What can members expect from you in the next five years? We will continually seek out ways to better serve customers and grow their business. We will continue to focus on person-to-person relationships and not just technology to serve our customers. INDEPENDENT TIRE DEALERS GROUP Offered by: Independent Tire Dealers Group LLC Website: Help for the independent tire dealer PROGRAM GROUPS OFFER TOOLS AND SERVICES TO HELP YOU GET AHEAD Joy Kopcha By

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