What began as a simple celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Tire Review Top Shop award program has evolved into an event and a community, populated by of the some of the best tire dealers in North America.
In September 2017, top tire dealers from all corners of the country gathered in Nashville to take part in this year’s invitation-only Tire Review Top Shop event, recognizing the success of the winners and finalists in achieving Top Shop honors.
During the opening night of the three days together, the Tire Review team unveiled the cover of the October issue, revealing this year’s Top Shop Winner to those gathered in downtown Nashville. This year, the highest honor went to Alyeska Tire.
On Tuesday, the Top Shop group was off to an early start, coming together for the morning Roundtable Discussion to provide their perspective on a number of industry issues, operational challenges and best practices – including what it takes to be a Top Shop. (Read their comments on the pages that follow.) Many who attended the event in 2016 shared that the Roundtable Discussion was extremely valuable and this year the conversation was even better. We’ll be including excerpts of the discussion in both video and in future issues of Tire Review.
Following the morning Roundtable, the group loaded the bus and headed to Lynchburg, Tenn., to “continue its education,” this time for an afternoon tour and tasting at the Jack Daniels Distillery followed by a special dinner at the foodie restaurant, Etch, in downtown Nashville.
The event concluded Wednesday with a factory tour and equipment selection at Hennessy Industries. As part of its generous Top Shop sponsorship, each Finalist and Winner receives a piece of Coats equipment (their choice) as part of the Top Shop prize package.
Roundtable Discussion: What Makes a Top Shop a Top Shop?
“I think it’s the willingness and the ability to push boundaries and to continue to try and innovate, read, watch what others are doing to see where their successors are and their failures, networking. It’s all a part of it.”
– Chris Monroe of Monroe Tire & Service
“It’s the relationships we have, the relationships with our customers, our suppliers, our community. The more we can harvest those relationships and grow them, I think it’s really important for our business and for our success.”
– Steve Nerheim of Waukegan Tire & Supply
“It starts with the customer, then it goes, via the customer to the employees, and to the community. [Being a Top Shop means] staying ahead of the curve as far as technology goes and finding ways to reach a customer, and keep the customers happy.”
– David Sands of Lex Brodie’s Tire, Brake & Service
“[Being a Top Shop] is all about people – people doing business with people. At the end of the day, our employees, I believe, are most important in our business because they’re the ones that are the front line, talking to our customers. If there’s a great bond and relationship, then we will be very successful. And like Alpio said, as the independent tire dealer, we’re the key to the whole industry. People, customers are looking for trust and reliability and honesty that we can provide them. And because of the fact that we give back so much to our communities, like all of us in this room, is very important, and our customers recognize how many sacrifices we make to help them as well.”
– Bud Luppino of Bud’s Tire Pros
“You have to think outside the box. You have to be very innovative. You just can’t go to work doing the same thing every day. And don’t be afraid of change. One thing good about change, if it doesn’t work change it back and you go back the way you were yesterday. But the most important part is be involved in your community because your community, it’ll come back to you. Being an independent tire dealer is solid because they’re coming in to buy from you. The independent tire dealer is the foundation of this industry.”
– Alpio Barbara of Redwood General Tire
“Group like this, we’re setting the standards for the industry – and whether we realize it or we’re very modest – what we do, other people watch us, and we need to support our other dealers to get them where they need to be. It’s a changing marketplace.”
– Howard Fleischmann of Community Tire Pros
“Communication is key among our peers, among our communities and among, number one, our employees – how we’re going to do business and what they’re expecting on both sides of the counter. Communicate with the vendors, all the parts delivery. And communicate with our customers – those people are coming in to do business with you, you and you. And they remember your name. Communication is key.”
– Pat Fleischmann of Community Tire Pros