After years of watching its annual dealer conference progressively grow larger and larger, the under-theme of K & M Tire’s 2016 gathering had to be “more and more.”
More products, more programs and more opportunities were the talk of the two-day program at the Overland Park Convention Center, in suburban Kansas City. And K&M Tire itself celebrated its continued growth; in 2015 the wholesaler purchased Midwest Tire & Muffler Inc., adding distribution centers in Sioux Falls and Rapid City, S.D., and Kelle Oil Co.’s Wholesale Tire Division in Braman, Okla.
Those additions gave K&M Tire 20 distribution centers reaching dealers in 21 states through nearly 200 delivery routes.
During the course of the conference, independent dealers had the opportunity to attend any of eight educational sessions covering a wide-range of topics, some about specific K&M Tire or supplier programs and most on dealer-centric topics like brand building, selling TPMS service and key retail benchmarks.
K&M Tire’s annual trade fair featured 46 booths representing 22 tire brands – consumer, medium truck, ag, OTR and industrial – eight parts resources, and various tool and equipment providers. Both Hankook Tire America and Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.’s Mastercraft brand hosted high-profile giveaways; Cooper gave away a 2016 Dodge Challenger R/T while Hankook awarded a lucky winner a 2016 BMW 3 Series.
Separately, Yokohama Tire Corp. donated $20,000 to K&M Tire’s charity organization “K&M Cares,” which the distributor created in 2015. That amount was split into one $10,000 donation to Food for the Poor Inc., K&M Tire’s long-time charity partner.
The other $10,000 gift was presented to Dan and Tim Ronda, the third-generation owners of Ronda Auto Centers in Lowell and Grand Rapids, Mich., who were chosen at random from among Yokohama Advantage Dealers attending the conference. The Ronda’s then gave $5,000 to a pair of their local charities, Kids Food Baskets and Volunteers in Service. Ronda Auto Centers will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2018.
K&M Tire also recognized the winner and finalists for its inaugural Mr. Tire/Big 3 Tire Top Shop Awards, sponsored by Hankook Tire America and supported by O’Reilly Auto Parts. Fort Wayne, Ind.-based McMahon Tire Service received the winner’s trophy and $1,500 check. Finalists Jack’s Tire Sales & Service in South Beloit, Ill.; Spitfire Automotive Inc. in Oak Lawn, Ill.; and Oxford Automotive in Delaware, Ohio, each received trophies and $500 checks.
The annual highlight of the K&M Tire Dealer Conference is the now massive group dinner, which featured dozens of door prizes provided by K&M and its suppliers. After dinner, former television personality Roy Firestone provided the entertainment with hilarious and heart-warming stories, dead-on imitations of famous sports personalities, and a few songs.