Whitney Moore, the co-owner and general manager of GL Moore Tire Pros, is passionate about a hobby that might raise a few eyebrows when you consider her store is located in Springfield, Missouri. Despite living nearly 600 miles from the nearest ocean, Moore considers herself an avid scuba diver.
Rather than viewing her distance from the wide-open sea as an obstacle to spending time under the water’s surface, Moore instead sees it as an opportunity for problem solving and discovery.
“It may seem odd considering I live smack dab in the middle of the country, and, of course, when I can I head to the ocean to dive, but I also enjoy a lot of freshwater diving spots around here,” she says. “We have tons of caves—we are The Cave State—rivers, lakes and quarries that are awesome to dive.”
She approaches the tire business the same way. There are those who, upon finding themselves in charge of a store with a 50-plus-year history of growth year-over-year, every year, might take the “if it ain’t broke” approach with their business plan. Instead, Moore—who began learning the ins and outs of the industry working alongside her father, Mark, while she was in college—takes the opposite approach, obsessively researching her business to explore trends and areas for improvement.
For example, Moore says she recently listened to a podcast where a tire dealer said being an owner is like being a fireman, whose job is to run around putting little fires out.
“That stuck with me,” she says.
This led her to analyze her own role in her business, one which she said had become inflated since she had her hand in everything “except turning wrenches.” To address this, Moore spent time with each of her employees, observing what they do and how they do it. She asked them what challenges they face and what she could do to address them, as well as what tools they needed or what resources she could provide to assist.
“We have always had a family mentality, but now, I am also trying to showcase a method of bringing about all feedback to make things better for not only them, but also our customers,” she says. “An owner worrying about the minute details doesn’t help unless he/she is working to make actual changes. But, if you can start to look at your processes and see where the inefficiencies are, you can start to develop a plan for improvement. Utilizing your staff to help can not only give you full insight, but also empower them to own the processes created even more. When an employee has a direct impact on their job, I think that they just care that much more and do that much better.”
Diving and tires have more in common than one might initially think, Moore says. An example of this can be seen in a common diver saying: “Follow the bubbles.”
It means that when the diver gets turned around underwater and can’t determine which way is up—an event sure to happen to every diver at least once—following the direction the bubbles are moving will ensure they reach the surface safely.
For Moore, “bubbles” in the tire industry are represented by tire manufacturers’ technological advancements being used to fit the changing needs of customers.
“I always tell my guys that I think in the next 10 years, they will be wearing white coats,” she quips. “The technological changes we see and the speed at which we see them showcases the need for forward thinking, willingness to be adaptable, utilization of resources available and support of your partnerships. So [we are] ready and willing to delve into the details, willing to make changes, willing to fail and learn, and are open-minded to doing things differently.”
Moore also does more than just follow the bubbles—sometimes her voice represents the bubbles others in the industry look to for guidance.
Moore currently serves on both the National Dealer Council and Marketing Mission-Based Council for Tire Pros, where she leads and is involved in conversations on how to improve the independent franchise business model.
She was also heavily involved with developing a new group, Women of Tire Pros, which provides support to dealers working with and for women, as well as mentorship for newcomers in the industry. The new group also focuses on getting more women involved in the tire industry, a cause that Moore says she is proud to champion.
“We aim to show women that they can have a future in this industry,” she says. “Most shops welcome this, as different perspectives can be advantageous for shops.”