Exclusive: Tire Discounters Reveals Its Plans for the Future

Bob Ulrich
Posted on July 11, 2016

Tire Discounters Inc. is the eighth largest independent tire dealership in the U.S. after opening its 100th store earlier this year.

What’s next for the Cincinnati, Ohio-based retail tire dealer? I recently sat down with President and Chief Operating Officer Jamie Ward to find out.

A Tire Discounters store is "very operationally focused," says Ward.
A Tire Discounters store is "very operationally focused," says Ward.

Growth is a given. Tire Discounters opens anywhere from eight to 12 stores per year. This year, the construction is happening primarily in the Nashville and Chattanooga markets.

With (now) 101 stores in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Georgia, Ward says his number one goal is to make sure the Tire Discounters culture stays not only unique but also the same in each market the company enters.

“When we open a new market, we send down some of the most experienced folks we have to run the market, to get the market up and ready, and to make sure we start off that group of stores the right way.

“It’s very difficult to do the right thing. It takes a lot of effort, but it’s worth it in a payback. We make sure the center of our universe stays the customer.”

Although the company is no longer the size of a mom-and-pop operation -- “65% of the tire dealers are mom-and pops in one way, shape or form,” says Ward -- it tries to keep that hometown attitude because it gives them a competitive edge against “the big guys” such as Firestone company-owned stores.

“For us, we’re not going to lose that because we focus on that. We put our processes around that. It’s all about taking the customers’ expectations and exceeding those. We do little things, like wash wheels when a customer comes into our store. We attempt (if at) all possible to open the door for them.

“At the end of the day, we try to do the extra things that require the extra effort most tire dealers aren’t willing to do, to exceed expectations of the customer.”

Ward is a self-described “operations guy” who has seen companies in different industries promise they will do something, then turn around and do the exact opposite.

“For us, we really spend a lot of money and focus with our field management team. We have our regional managers out there constantly in the stores working with the stores, making sure they’re executing at the highest level.”

That includes quarterly quality store visits, he says.

“We know that all those details matter. They pay off. The cleanliness of the bathroom, the cleanliness of the showrooms -- we spend a lot of money making sure everything is right for our customer.”

Look for my interview with Ward; Chairman and CEO William “Chip” Wood, and Senior Vice President of Sales Operations and Marketing Clarissa Niese in the July issue of Modern Tire Dealer.

And for more information on Tire Discounters, check out these links:

"Tire Discounters Opens 100th Store."

"Tire Discounters Founder Chip Wood Returns as CEO."

Related Topics: Chip Wood, Clarissa Niese, Jamie Ward, Modern Tire Dealer 100, Tire Discounters

Bob Ulrich Editor
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