Often in this space I have offered concerns and observations about the tire industry. Criticisms in some cases, suggestions in others, but all with an eye toward strengthening your position in the market.
I have been remiss, though, in mentioning the many fabulous things you and your teams do – often as part of your daily routine – that make the tire industry, in my opinion, the finest business around.
Each month, I receive copies of newsletters from numerous state associations (not all of them, hint, hint!). I read them all, cover to cover, and always end up with a smile. The ideas and comments are brilliant, the concerns true, and the jokes sometimes funny.
What strikes me most, though, is how alike we all are. From California to Massachusetts, Vancouver to PEI, tire dealers are all about good deeds and an undying passion for this business.
While this is a serious trade, it is nice to see we all share much in common, we never take ourselves too seriously and we always seem to have time to help others.
Consider the countless thousands of dollars in scholarship money raised at the grassroots level and awarded to deserving high school seniors. Many of our current and future leaders received much-appreciated assistance with ever-growing college bills, thanks to you.
Or the service calls you answer in the middle of the night to help some poor stranded motorist. And the comfort you offer when a balky car threatens to ruin a customer’s day.
All the fires fought by the many volunteer firemen who earn a living in the tire biz. And all of the lives saved by volunteer EMTs who sling rubber from seven to seven each day.
The phone calls gladly taken from competitors needing some help with a problem or a shortage in product or just seeking advice.
The way we all seem to look out for each other, despite our competitive differences, because we’d rather compete against each other than some faceless mega-box or greedy car dealer.
The true, honest fellowship on display at many association meetings, incentive trips, dealer meetings and other gatherings.
The fretting you go through each and every day for your employees and their families, who depend on you to make good decisions and be prosperous.
And the ‘thank yous’ that come in quiet ways when those decisions work out.
Then, there are the untold hundreds who have learned their trade and moved on to bigger and better things because of the wisdom and patience of tire dealers. Sometimes, you just see something in them. Sometimes, you just give them a chance.
The involvement in community affairs – most often as volunteers – to make your hometowns a better place to live.
The training sessions we organize because we know better employees mean better service for our customers.
How many of our customers become more a part of our lives than just another paid invoice or the next big order.
The seemingly insurmountable problems we have worked around because of our own ingenuity – or, most often, that of our staffs.
How our donations of time and money allow millions of children to participate in youth sports and other programs each and every year.
The complainers and cranks we take the time to really listen to and convert into lifelong customers.
The nursing homes and sick kids we visit. Without fanfare.
How on a crazy Monday morning we can rip our rep a new one on the phone, and laugh and joke while breaking bread with him on Thursday.
The undying fire we have to do the right thing for each and every customer and employee. No matter what it takes.
The sage advice we receive from our elder statesmen…and the fact that we actually take it to heart.
The fact that after all of these years, we still make coffee in the morning and don’t mind manning the broom in the evening.
How we gladly accept the fact that if we do our job right the customer won’t give it a thought. And how we’ll become top of mind when we don’t.
All the young bucks we have become surrogate parents to because their own parents didn’t take the time.
The sheer enjoyment we get from the “little things.”
The satisfaction we enjoy silently knowing that every day is a good day.
The support we receive from so many – from family and friends to those we don’t even know who still work tirelessly on our behalf.
Thank you for being you and for all the things you do to make this the best business on earth. Happy New Year.