In the short span of 11 years, Brian Pierce has worked his way up from a general service technician—changing tires, oil and doing some mechanic work—to now managing 16 stores in South Carolina for Black’s Tire. A head-down, humble hard worker, Brian speaks with passion about the industry that he has come to love.
“I just love helping people, whether it be the customer or seeing my people happy,” he said. “That’s my motivator.”
However, Brian never thought he’d work in the tire industry and fell into it “by accident,” as he said. Initially, he set out to be a North Carolina State Highway patrolman. He passed all the exams and was about to enter highway patrol school when the unexpected happened
“We were informed that the state of North Carolina put a hiring freeze for one year,” he explains, “and I needed a job until it was time to go back to Highway Patrol school.”
So, Brian, who had played baseball with the Benton boys (sons of Black’s Tire owner, Ricky Benton), went to Ricky and asked for a part-time gig. He started out at Black’s Tire’s Myrtle Beach location busting tires, but his staunch work ethic got noticed.
“I worked there for about eight or nine months, and they [the Bentons] came to me and said, ‘We would love for you to think about maybe staying and making a career with us,’” he said. “Honestly, I was enjoying what I was doing. It was starting to become fun. I’ve always enjoyed helping people, and in this business, you get to do a lot of that. So, it’s very rewarding.”
From there Brian worked in different stores across Black’s Tire’s footprint in North and South Carolina, and he’s worked in just about every position imaginable: commercial sales and roadside service, commercial center manager, retail store manager—you name it, and Brian and has done it. “I’m a very hands-on guy,” he said, noting that he likes to get his hands dirty and “do the work” in each position he’s held. For example, when he became a commercial center manager, he worked ungodly hours just to know every aspect of the business.
“I feel like the more you know about the business, the better you can lead the business,” he said.
In his Club 3633 nominations, Brian was commended by his superiors for his dedication to bettering the business, his support of his team members and his willingness to think outside the box. For example, when he was a manager at a location in Loris, South Carolina—a city of about 2,000 people—he was tapped to drum up business for the new store. So, he thought: What are some things we can do that no one else is doing to gain market share?
From offering shuttle service to customers to good old-fashioned relationship building, Brian said, “we took a store that was doing decent to turning it into a really good location in about two years.”
As regional manager, Brian oversees 16 stores and said he has built a great network of not only shop employees but also other regional managers who are like family. Those people have helped him elevate Black’s Tire in the markets he serves as they adhere to the business’s motto: “Blacks Has Your Back.” He has also helped open stores, and as a leader in the company, he now helps to train others, which is one of his favorite aspects of the job. In fact, Brian and some of his teammates renovated a building to make it a training center for his region.
“At any random time, we schedule different training events for just my market,” he said. “We may poll our road service guys to come in there for safety training, our sales counter people to come in to do sales counter training. I pull my managers in every quarter to do some different kinds of training. We’re always trying to do more with training.”
He works to take advantage of training opportunities for himself, too, whether it’s participating in manager retreats to attending dealer meetings with Black’s Tire leadership to partaking in tire and parts manufacturer trainings.
“I was able to be trained through my career coming up, so, that’s one of the things that I try to keep going today just to retain people,” he said. “I like to see people learn more to do better. I feel like I’m not going to do well in my job if I don’t try to get people better at their job.”
He gives credit to those that taught him for his success in the business. A few of those people include: Kenny Bullard, a Black’s Tire “legend” and tough leader who showed Brian the ropes and harped on quality training; Mark Hofflin, an area regional manager that taught him about business operations; and of course, Ricky Benton, who has acted as a mentor and father figure by showing Brian how he’s built the business.
“I always try to find those good people that I can feed off of, and hopefully, they’ll feed off of me, and we can work together and try to build something,” Brian said.