Modern Tire Dealer

JUN 2019

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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Page 69 of 89

M T D J u n e 2 0 1 9 68 F o c u s O n I n d u s t r y appointment reminders, check-in messages, and thank you messages to customers. ey also give him a robust reporting system that helps him monitor who is performing and who is not. MTD Publisher Greg Smith provided the group with an in- depth look at the current economic climate as it relates to tire sales and automotive service by dealers. He said a key area of optimism for dealers is that a large number of light duty vehicles are entering the six- to 12-year-old range, which is called the "sweet spot" for repair. Smith said those are the vehicles that are out of warranty, but still new enough that the owners want professional repair work done. Brad Ward of Ronnie Ward Tire Inc., a wholesale and retail operation based in Monroe, Ga., told MTD aer the event that ITDG "allows us, with our three retail stores (Bulldog Tire Co.), to buy at the absolute best price as an independent, which in turn keeps us competitive against corporate America out there. Hope- fully this translates, daily, into what my father taught me a long time ago: "Don't worry about the competition, be the competition." Ward further said, "When the independents suddenly level the playing field (price) with the big boys, oh, how fun it is then. I know and believe that my four locations can out-service any dealer around as well as sustain long-term relationships with customers once we get them in the door. Anybody can sell on price, and ITDG certainly helps us do just that, but we like to see the big picture and long-term customer relationship here in our world. I don't think any of the big boys can honestly say that." MTD also talked with Maggie Buckholtz, vice president of purchasing for Rice Tire Co., Frederick, Md. She said that being a member of ITDG has "had a positive impact on our profits, and offers new sources of supply." She further added that one purpose of the group is to get a better deal for the members than they can get on their own. "Because of our size, sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't. We have leverage, and negotiate good deals, but oentimes the power of the group makes the difference." Buckholtz also commented about the "ethics and values that is displayed by the group, and the loyalty of its members. ose values mirror the Rice Tire way of doing business. We appreciate being part of the "Band of Brothers and Sisters" (the motto of ITDG). Echoing the other dealers' comments about buying power, Justin Limbaugh, store manager of Jack's OK Tire Service, Clear Lake, Iowa, part of Mason City Tire Service, added that the group allows him to connect with other dealers and discuss ways to improve his business. During the farewell banquet, it was announced that Beasley Tire Service, Houston, Texas, won ITDG's dealer of the year program. Next year, ITDG will be holding its annual meeting at the Sheraton Grand in Nashville, Tenn., from May 14-18. ■ Darren McLea of McLea's Tire and Automotive Centers showed how his company is using digital inspections and text messages (shown above) to keep its customers in the loop about repair needs. McLea is chairman of the Independent Tire Dealers Group's NextGen committee and used this ex- ample as one of the items the committee discusses when looking to the future. Greg Smith, MTD publisher, discussed current market condi- tions with ITDG members during their annual meeting. The ITDG staff members who were in attendance at the annual meeting were, from left, Dave Marks, CEO and president; Cheryl Bluman, administrative manager; Sherry Bily, director of pro- grams and pricing; and Chris Barry, senior sales director. Richie Howard of Bruce's Tire Inc. discussed the group's NextGen program. PHOTOS COURTESY OF ITDG

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