Over 400 tire dealers and industry representatives came together in early March for the North Carolina Tire Dealers Association (NCTDA) 2018 Expo and Trade Show at the Raleigh Convention Center in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina.
Friday’s opening night awards dinner kicked off the two-day event where two tire industry icons, Roland S. Boyette, Jr. and Dan K. Brown, were inducted into the NCTDA Hall of Fame before a standing-room-only crowd. NCTDA 2018 Dealer of the Year Chris Monroe was also honored.
The event also included an NCTDA member update. NCTDA President Mike Erickson with Carroll Tire Co. provided details on the changing environment within the tire industry, calling for dealers to step up their level of customer experience and online presence.
“One of the most critical challenges [facing tire dealers] is how to best utilize the resources that you have at your disposal,” Erickson said, emphasizing that the customer landscape is changing. “It can’t be any more simply stated – make every customer feel like they are special… it is a must. Managing your electronic media presence is also key. Having a website isn’t sufficient; you must manage how the consumers perceive your business. Yesterday’s customers are not today’s customers, and today’s customers are not tomorrow’s customers.”
Current legislative initiatives of the state association, led by Reece Hester, executive director of the NCTDA, include:
Influencing change to the state’s scrap tire program, promoting a fee schedule to change from two percent per tire sold to a per-tire fee. Used tires will be included in scrap fees.
- Supporting the Marketplace Fairness Act, proposed legislation in the U.S. Congress that would enable state governments to collect state sales tax from online transactions of e-commerce retailers with no physical presence in their state, a benefit to brick-and-mortar tire retailers.
- The development of marketing programs and gear to support member initiatives, improving social media presence to better receive and distribute information, and more.
- A new program underway to help provide tire dealers with a source for quality, trained technicians right out of school is perhaps the largest issue. The NCTDA is currently working with community colleges and technical institutes in North Carolina with the goal of having students certified with the Tire Industry Association’s ATS Certification and additional tiered levels of tire and auto service training so candidates are job-ready for the tire industry upon program completion.
Scott Wheeler, president of the Automotive Consultants Group, provided in-depth discussion on KPIs and the numbers worth watching for business owners. Wheeler was followed by a panel discussion and audience forum featuring Joe Quigg, owner of Ed’s Tire & Auto Service; Russ Carter, director of operations for Griffin Brothers; and Marc Pons, president of Chapel Hill Tire Co. The panel was moderated by Patti Renner, editor of Tire Review magazine.
Later that day, the aisles of the expo floor were packed with dealers and solution providers in deep conversation about equipment, concerns and recommendations. Walking a show floor has been compared to a continuing education program and this event did not disappoint.
The event concluded with multiple raffle prizes awarded, including the grand prize of a Coats 60X Tire Changer.