Smelling the Roses: Top Shop Marks the Best, But There Are Plenty of Great Dealers Out There - Tire Review Magazine

Smelling the Roses: Top Shop Marks the Best, But There Are Plenty of Great Dealers Out There

I guess the most annoying thing about being sick is that it is just so damn annoying. Especially when you don’t feel all that sick.

A recent 12-rounder with pneumonia – won on the judge’s card, by the way – had me sequestered in the local hospital for seven days. Felt more like a lifetime, what with the prescribed bed rest (impossible with the regular poking and prodding), dotted with hours of bad TV, bad food and worse company – my omnipresent IV pump. I now understand “stir crazy.”

Those who know me know that I don’t suffer sick all that well, and that there is no good time to be sick. At least to me. Especially in a deadline-oriented business like this. It’s a trait I picked up from my father, who would all but slice his thumb off on a table saw, calmly drive to the ER for a few dozen stitches, and then get right back to cross-cutting lumber as if there was anything wrong with that.

With nothing but time on one’s hands, reflection is inevitable. Not the fatalistic version, mind you – it was just pneumonia – but rather on the state of the tire industry.

I have killed more than a few words on the many issues we face in our little niche of modern commerce. And there are many current internal and external pressures, to be sure, that have bearing on your business.

But for the many challenges the marketplace is staring down, we have so many more positives that clearly demonstrate the strength, resilience, creativity, integrity and pure pride that leave little doubt that independent tire dealers will prevail.

In this issue, we’ll feature four such success stories – the winner and three finalists of our second annual Top Shop Awards, sponsored by Ammco/Coats. These dealers have found a way to stay on top through these difficult times by focusing on good, old-fashioned blocking and tackling, the fundamentals of merchandising, training, community service, customer service, achievement and appearance – the cornerstones of any successful business.

As important as those success stories are, there were nearly 100 others that crossed my desk as Top Shop entrants for this year. Every one, in their own way, was as successful as our four top shops. Their earnestness, the stories they shared and the reasons they deserved consideration were as compelling as any.

The number of entries received represents a small percentage of the known independent tire dealer universe in the U.S. and Canada. And, at the end of the day, there can be but one winner. But that should not diminish the value of the thousands of other tire dealers – large and small – who keep North America rolling.

It was refreshing to see so many entries from Canadian dealers this year, a trend I hope will continue in the future. So, too, from those servicing commercial markets – ag, trucking and OTR. And I don’t want to forget those who entered last year and worked very hard to improve for this year’s contest.

Our winner, in fact, was a semi-finalist last year.

You see, that’s the thing about this contest. It’s not about who you are or how many locations you have or how much revenue you generate or any of those measures. Our top Top Shop this year, for example, has just two locations and has been in business for 10 years. One of the finalists has one store, and is closer to the Arctic Circle than to a major city.

Sure, the traditional measures are important. It’s easy to attribute success to balance sheets and number of locations and years in business. But the real Top Shops – the ones we seek to honor each year – run deeper than that. They may not be the biggest or the most recognizable, but they are – in every sense – the most well-rounded examples of what it means to be a truly successful small business.

It was particularly interesting to see that customer service was the number one driver for our top four this year. They recognized – even long ago – that sustainability is based on finding and keeping satisifed customers. When the bad times come – and we all know that they are here now – those customers, and the dozens of others they drive to your store, will stave off the bitter cold of a downturn.

I could not be prouder than when I have the opportunity to represent this industry. And it is because of you – all of you – in small town Ohio, rural New York, metropolitan Toronto, or even halfway across an ocean.

And I cannot thank you enough. As annoying as my unexpected vacation was, it did give me pause to smell the roses and appreciate just how lucky we all are.

You May Also Like

A Focus on People Defines Today’s Top Shops

For the past few years in the tire industry, there has been a keen focus on people– keeping people on your staff happy, attracting new ones to your business, finding ways to challenge tenured employees…the list goes on. In fact, tire dealers like you are getting pretty innovative in ways they’re working with their staff

Editors-Notebook-September-1400

For the past few years in the tire industry, there has been a keen focus on people– keeping people on your staff happy, attracting new ones to your business, finding ways to challenge tenured employees…the list goes on. In fact, tire dealers like you are getting pretty innovative in ways they’re working with their staff to create a great work environment, which in turn, creates success for the business.

Look Inside Lamborghini’s VIP Lounge in NYC and Drive a Urus with Us

During a recent ride-and-drive with Pirelli, the tiremaker showcased its relationship with Lamborghini with a stop at the prestige OEM’s Lamborghini Lounge, a no-frills building tucked inside New York City’s Chelsea District. Inside, it’s where discerning soon-to-be Lamborghini owners can go and customize their vehicles (namely, the Huracán and Aventador) as part of the carmaker’s

Lamborghini Lounge vehicle personalized
Fleet Tire Market to Outpace Overall Tire Market to 2026

Fleet tire consumption is growing along with population and middle-class expansion regardless of the economic and transportation setbacks related to COVID-19. Thanks to the shift in mobility that is taking place to 2026 and beyond, which includes greater efficiencies in commercial transport and the use of car- and ride-sharing fleets for personal transportation, the fleet

Freightliner-Custom-Chassis-Electric-Walk-In-Van-1400
Looking for Opportunities Amid Supply Challenges

While the industry continues to battle supply issues, now is a good time to look at other aspects of your shop that you can control.

Forging a Path Forward

The skills we learned from being distanced because of the pandemic will stay with us, but think of it this way: As the world opens up, what opportunities will it offer you?

Forging a Path Ahead

Other Posts

Future Proofing your Business as Vehicle Technology Changes

Most of us are back to living lives that resemble our pre-pandemic selves, but chip shortages persist, and new car production rates still haven’t recovered, with Trading Economics still recording a significant drop in United States car production compared to pre-pandemic rates, and The Alliance for Automotive Innovation recording that North America lost more than

autonomous technology in cars
Finding Your Tire Shop’s Value Proposition

By following a few steps, any growing business in this field, new or old, will be better positioned to determine what their value proposition is, too.

State of the Industry service advisor customer
Waves of Change: Tire Review Makes Staff Changes

Tire Review is accelerating its efforts to keep you engaged, enthusiastic and curious about the growth your business can achieve.

TR Staff 1400
2021 Top Shop Competition Standouts Are the ‘Best of the Best’

These Top Shops lead by example, relentlessly focus on elevating their customers’ service experience, outshine their competitors, stand out in their community and commit to excellence, says Tire Review Editor Mary DellaValle.

Tire Review Top Shop Event