Modern Tire Dealer

JUN 2019

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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M T D J u n e 2 0 1 9 66 F o c u s O n I n d u s t r y T he Independent Tire Dealers Group (ITDG) celebrated its 25 th anniversary in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, last month at its annual membership meeting and trade show. Dave Marks, ITDG CEO and president, announced that the group now has 159 members with 727 locations across the U.S., up from 150 members and 675 locations in 2018. Marks has set a goal of reaching 205 members and 902 locations in all 50 states in 2022. Gross purchases by ITDG members reached a record of over $233 million in 2018, making the group "a force in the market for all the right reasons," said Marks. e purchases enabled ITDG to make a volume bonus and dividend payout to its members of $8.7 million for 2018. Chris Barry, senior sales director for ITDG, said the group is currently looking for a new sales representative for the eastern part of the country to further the group's growth, and hopes to have that position filled by mid-year. During the group's general session, George Kingman, executive director of DSP 20 Group, discussed a number of current hot trends that could help dealers grow their businesses. Kingman said social media platforms and digital inspection programs are about to explode. He said both represent incredible opportunities. By using the technology to show the customer visually what is wrong with the vehicle without the customer even needing to be at the dealership, a dealer is adding credibility and speed to the process. Going further, Kingman cited as an example a college student who needs work done on a vehicle, but whose parents live elsewhere and will actually be paying for the service. e parent or parents can see what is wrong with the vehicle, see a written estimate for the work, and authorize the service and ultimately pay for it without leaving their home, or place of business. "Our front door is the internet and our web page," Kingman said. "e internet is the price of admission and is not about being the cheapest — but it is about being the easiest." He then challenged the group to make sure they were using their website to the fullest. A simple tip that Kingman gave was making sure that the "About" section of a dealers' website had photos and information about all dealership personnel, because people still buy from people. "I'm amazed that about 90% of all websites leave this channel blank." As a group, the ITDG has focused on the next generation of tire dealership owners. Richie Howard of Bruce's Tire Inc. in Livermore, Calif., a fourth generation family member, was in attendance to discuss the group's NextGen program with Darren McLea, who joined by video conference. McLea, a third genera- tion family member of McLea's Tire and Automotive Centers in Santa Rosa, Calif., is the chairman of the NextGen committee. McLea said the idea is to "prepare for the future, today, by developing platforms for future ITDG leaders." During the committee's meetings, the members "discuss new/fresh ideas to meet the demands of our changing industry." He echoed what Kingman had said about digital inspections. McLea said his company has given digital tablets to his staff. is has allowed his company to increase communications with customers; obtain better efficiency by having quicker responses from customers; keep a photo/video record of all recommenda- tions; audit the quality of inspections in real time; and integrate Greg Smith By ITDG celebrates its 25 th anniversary MEMBERS ENJOY STATUS OF 'A FORCE IN THE MARKET FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS' The ITDG farewell banquet combined award presentations along with 25 years of celebration and remembrance for its members. Left, Michael Beasley of Beasley Tire Service, Houston, Texas, accepts the ITDG Dealer of the Year Award from Clay Miller, Mainstreet Tire USA, Peyton, Colo. ITDG has used its annual beach volleyball contest as a group bonding event the past several years.

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