Letters to the Editor: Shrinking Dealer Base is a Concern - Tire Review Magazine

Letters to the Editor: Shrinking Dealer Base is a Concern

Just read your column, "It’s Just a Numbers Game" in this month’s issue. I work in a small independent auto repair/tire dealer in a suburb of Cleveland. My father started a Shell gas station in 1969 when I was young and sold it in 1973 when the oil embargo scared him. Chances are if he had stayed in the business, I would probably own a chain of gas stations now, but that will never be known.
Years later when he saw this trend of which you speak happening in business, he asked me why I was so happy about the great deal I got at the new Super K-Mart in town instead of from the appliance guy down the street with whom we had been doing business for years. 

I told him the price was a lot cheaper. He told me he was going to give me a lesson in business, and had me follow him out to his vegetable garden where he was growing zucchini.
I was skeptical about what "the gardener" could show his business major son about business, but I reluctantly listened. He said that if he failed to trim the plant and allowed the largest zucchini to continue growing, the smaller, budding zucchinis would shrivel up and die. What’s more, the giant zucchini would not have very good flavor at all, be loaded with seeds, would begin to rot from the inside out, and the plant as a whole would die off sooner and yield far fewer zucchinis over the summer.
He said this is what will happen to our appliance friend down the street. It did. My father never made it past third grade in war-torn Italy during the 1940s, but he was wise.
Unfortunately, for years independent manufacturers in nearly every industry are dying because of this sea change movement toward “bigger is better.” It is a change we must deal with. We must not curse the storm, but adjust our sails.
In our town, we have a 30-store chain that bills itself as a "family company,” but it acts just like a big-box chain. It’s tough to compete against a giant that pretends to be a "little guy.” But we must.
Perhaps we must to strive for Ken Blanchard’s "Raving Fans" ideology and give our customers a reason to stay with (or come back to) us when they grow weary of the blandness from the giant, faceless corporation.
It would be interesting to see you follow-up this article with one that presents the possible solution(s) to this problem.
Anyway, I enjoyed the article and look forward to every issue.
Anthony Adipietro
Lakewood Tire & Auto
Lakewood, OH

I just finished reading your column entitled "It’’s Just a Numbers Game." As a services provider to independent tire dealers, I feel the sense of loss that you do.

In the last two years alone, we have lost Big 10 Tires, Kramer Tire, Tire Barn Warehouse and Ken Towery’s Tire as customers to the “Others” as you describe them. However, we lost more than that, which are the relationships that go with working with family-owned independents. 

It is these relationships that bring me (and I assume you, too) to the office each day. Good article.
Jay B. Adams
MaddenCo Inc.
Evansville, IN


You May Also Like

Straightaway Tire brings on industry vets to promote training initiatives

John Wafler and Jason Servidio will drive platform-wide internal training initiatives for Straightaway Tire.


O2 Investment Partners revealed that Straightaway Tire & Auto, an independent, full-service aftermarket automotive repair and service platform, has retained John Wafler and Jason Servidio to drive platform-wide internal training initiatives.

Wafler will oversee all area manager and general manager training. Previously, he spent more than two decades with RLO Training as a BLIG facilitator. According to O2 Investment Partners, he has "helped hundreds of shop owners realize the full potential of their businesses through his hands-on coaching."

TyreXpo Asia 2024 confirmed for Bangkok

The event is expected to attract over 4,000 international attendees from around 60 countries.

Hamaton to relocate its European distribution hub in Germany

The new location, still located on the Siemensring business park, will provide increased storage space and more.

Hankook Tire’s Rob Williams on leveraging momentum for global expansion

The company’s North America president tells all regarding product philosophy, dealer growth strategy, and what responding to the tire market means in 2024.

Bill Ziegler, Ziegler Tire president, dies

Bill spent 48 years with Ziegler Tire, most recently as president.


Other Posts

Pirelli marks 50 million tires manufactured at Mexico plant

Since 2012, Pirelli has invested over $900 million in the plant.

Falken tests new R/T, M/T tires at The King of the Hammers

Seven different competitors fit their vehicles with Wildpeak tires.

Yokohama Rubber commits to SBTi validation for sustainable targets

This commitment letter pledges to set and submit targets that are aligned with the SBTi’s target-setting criteria within two years.

Michelin sees steady sales volume in 2023 YOY, increases NA market sales

The company said sales for the year amounted to approx. $30.6 billion, down a slight 0.9% from 2022.