Big O Tires LLC franchisees celebrated growth in all business metrics and recognized the first store to surpass $7 million in sales at their annual convention April 4-5, 2017, in San Diego, Calif.
The TBC Corp. subsidiary says same-store total retail, service and tire unit sales as well as car count grew year-over-year in 2016. Franchisees also had significant total sales growth, according to Kim McBee, vice president of marketing and advertising. Sales were led by the Big O Tires store in Dublin, Calif., which became the first member of the “$7 Million Dollar Club” in 2016. The Dublin store is one of six Big O Tires stores in Northern California owned by Bruce Cherry.
“Hitting a sales level we’ve never reached before was so exciting for us,” says McBee. “The Dublin store has always been a top performer. This year, they focused on service sales, alignment sales and fleet sales. They say at the end of the day it’s just doing the Big O Tires process and holding their team accountable.”Two new states
Big O Tires added 19 stores in 2016 and began 2017 by opening locations in Ohio and Tennessee. The newest stores, which expand the Big O Tires footprint to 21 states, are owned by new franchisees. Nick Benge, president of Big OKI LLC, opened a store in Hamilton, Ohio, in January 2017. Also in January, Benge opened two stores in Kentucky, in the cities of Georgetown and Lexington.
In Tennessee, the Tun Tavern Group opened stores in Knoxville and Farragut in March and in Murfreesboro in April. The franchise group is owned by Tom Coke, Joe Eltringham and Derrick Martin.
Focus on digital marketing
Big O Tires is investing in digital marketing with a focus on keyword search, according to McBee. “We’re shifting dollars to where shoppers are.” She says it’s an art and a science to ensure Big O Tires shows up in website searches.
“It’s a focus for us to make sure we’re aware of where the tire shopper is. Those are the people raising their hands and saying, ‘I’m in market.’ We want to be there when they search online. It would be tough as an independent dealer to do this on your own. Digital marketing is one of the great benefits of being with Big O Tires.”The event included presentation of Standing “O” awards to franchisees and corporate associates for going “above and beyond.” This year’s recipients are Matthew Greco, co-owner of 23 stores in California and Colorado; Mitch Beranek, co-owner of 10 stores across Colorado and New Mexico; Rodger Anderson, real estate development manager at TBC Corp.; Darrell Jackson, field training manager at TBC Corp.; and Ferdie Brown, franchise business consultant for Big O Tires’ East Division.
The Point of Light award went to Tony Williams for contributing his knowledge, expertise, and dedication. Williams is a member of the Franchise Advisory Council and a leader in his local dealer group. With his partners, he owns seven stores in the Phoenix, Ariz., market.
Jerry Tidwell, store owner in Phoenix, Ariz.; Jeff Schwab, multi-store store owner in Iowa and Nebraska; and Bruce Cherry received Franchisee of the Year awards.
Kevin Kormondy was inducted into the hall of fame. He joined Big O Tires in 1981 and retired in 2016 as executive vice president and chief operating officer.
Big O Tires has 398 franchisee-owned and two company-owned stores primarily located in the western and midwestern United States. It also distributes tires and other automotive service products to associate dealers in western Canada. ■