Nearly 70 independent tire dealers and another 20 leaders of new-car dealership service departments from across the southeast traveled to Whiteville, North Carolina to gather for a BTS Tire & Wheel Distributors dealer meeting on May 10. The theme, “On the Road of Change,” was accentuated by the presentations highlighting the news of the day, historic views and anticipated trends to come.
BTS, the wholesale tire operation founded by Ricky Benton and the family of Black’s Tire and Auto Service, remains one of the regional partners within the most recent iteration of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s aligned distribution model. The meeting was well timed, as independent tire dealers continue to make sense of and prepare for changes in the industry landscape. Recent changes include the wholesale distribution joint venture partnerships between Michelin and Sumitomo Corporation of Americas. and the more recent creation of Tire Hub, combining Goodyear and Bridgestone Americas’ U.S. distribution, which eliminated ATD as a national distributor for Goodyear. Other news of note included the partnership between Amazon and Sears Auto Center as well as Dealer Tire investing in Simple Tire, among other topics.
Frankie Underwood, who heads up sales for BTS, said he was “very satisfied” with the meeting, as its goal was to serve versus sell those attending. With a stunning 38,000-sq.-ft. training center – complete with a 100-seat classroom, training bays and showroom with counters to simulate an in-store experience – this is one of many educational sessions BTS customers and prospects can take part in. Underwood described this one in particular as a “great success.”
“It all goes back to communication and being a partner with our dealers, helping them with keeping abreast of what’s going on in the industry,” Underwood said. “It’s vital in the tire business to have a partner that’s not just a supplier but a partner. In the future, it’ll be more important than ever.”
Underwood facilitated the event, which featured presentations by Tire Review Editor Patti Renner, NCTDA Executive Director Reece Hester and Modern Tire Dealer Editor Bob Ulrich in addition to commentary and perspective from Ryan Benton, Rick Benton II and Ricky Benton of Black’s Tire.