The time has come again for my favorite edition of Tire Review: our Top Shop issue, now in its 17th year!
Tire Review’s Top Shop Awards Program, presented by Coats, recognizes the “best of the best” tire dealers across North America. A common theme among many of our Top Shop winners over the years is the idea of treating their employees and customers like family. It’s one thing to say it – everybody says it. It’s another thing to truly live and breathe that mentality.
Our 2023 Top Shop winner, Black’s Tires & Auto Service, embodies it.
“We are technically the fourth generation to lead the company with my brothers and me, but with Black’s, we aren’t just led by what you might call ‘blood family.’ We have so much family involved that’s not blood kin. That makes the business move forward,” says Rick Benton Jr., Black’s Tire vice president of sales/marketing, managing director ownership group. “With everything we do we want to keep our family No. 1, and by family I mean both our team members and our customers. If you’re going to build trust, then the bottom line is that you’ve got to be here to serve.”
Want to see what it takes to be a Top Shop? Click here to read our profile on Black’s, or click here to watch our interview with Black’s leadership.
Funny enough, we happen to have another great profile in this month’s edition with a lot of parallels to what’s happening at Black’s. We are also featuring Tim Winkeler, CEO of VIP Tires & Service in the New England area, as Tire Review’s Vehicle Care RockStar. Vehicle Care RockStars is a Babcox Media program that aims to recognize those industry professionals making a powerful impression in their market segments. Click here if you’d like to read Tim’s profile.
Of course, VIP’s success (the tire store chain is sitting at about six dozen stores and continues to grow) is not simply due to the work of one man, and Tim will be the last person to take any of the credit. He doesn’t rule the VIP kingdom from a throne built from stacks of tires — but that’s what makes him a rock star. In fact, Tim just might redefine virtually everything you thought you knew about the rock star lifestyle.
“I’m blessed. I’m one of those people where it doesn’t feel like a job,” Tim says. “We’ve got such great team members and I feel like they have the freedom to do their best work. When they have that kind of freedom and they are empowered to run their part of the business, it makes my job much easier to do what I do. All I have to do is continue to foster that environment and help people.”
In the tire industry, it’s all about the people. Why? Because in today’s world, that’s just good business.
Want to nominate someone for our Top Shop program or know a rock star in the industry who deserves recognition? Just want to say hi? Drop me an email: [email protected].