’They’re part of our company’
Doug Barbacci and Tommy Grimes have had a front row seat to McCarthy Tire Service Co. Inc.’s growth under President John McCarthy. Barbacci is the owner and president of Calex Logistics Inc. and Grimes is chief operating officer. Barbacci has owned the company for more than 20 years and says McCarthy Tire Service is the business’ longest standing vendor. “They’ve been part of our business for 40-plus years. They’re part of our company.”
Calex has 200 tractors and 400 trailers in its fleet, including dry vans, refrigerated units and flat beds, and the vehicles run in 48 states. Grimes says, “John has been instrumental in helping us identify our brand of tires. By far Continental is our major tire brand.” The fleet also serves as a beta tester for new products for Continental Tire the Americas LLC. In addition, McCarthy helped Calex set up national accounts with Continental and Bridgestone Americas Inc.
The logistics company employs its own diesel mechanics, but relies on McCarthy Tire Service for all its tire work and alignments. Vincent McTague, a tire technician from the McCarthy truck service department in Wilkes-Barre, has been assigned to the Calex fleet for the last 12 years. “He’s part of the woodwork,” says Barbacci.
Barbacci knows McCarthy Tire Service has grown into a large tire operation, but as a fleet customer, that hasn’t changed a thing.
“We deal with the same folks. It’s the same organization. It’s the same touch. It’s refreshing. Even though they’ve grown, they still provide the same personal, relational business. That’s extraordinary and out of the ordinary.”
Grimes adds, “John McCarthy is the same guy he was the day I met him. One thing he always says is ‘thanks for the business.’ They’re an excellent partner to our company, and we’re very loyal to them.”
Taking a loss to help the customer: But in the long term, the partnership pays off
With 74 company-owned trucks, 20 owner-operators and about 440 trailers, Kane Is Able is a third-party logistics company that provides transportation services on the East Coast and warehouse operations all over the country. Larry Catanzaro, vice president of transportation for Kane Is Able, says in northeastern Pennsylvania three truck terminals cover the area from Maine to Virginia, though 70% of their trucks make deliveries to New York City and New Jersey. They haul everything from wine and liquor for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to household goods for Sam’s Club stores.
And for more than 50 years, Kane Is Able has relied on McCarthy Tire Service Co. Inc. for its tire needs. Mike D’Elia is the commercial sales representative at McCarthy assigned to the account, but before him it was John McCarthy’s account. And before that it was Jack McCarthy’s account.
The tire dealership sent service trucks to the Kane yard for tire inspections, and Catanzaro was hoping “to identify problems before they happen on the road and become an expensive problem.” But Kane Is Able took that a step farther.
“We took that knowledge, worked with them, saw the value in it and we put our own team together to do that for us,” says Catanzaro. “If it wasn’t for them doing that, we probably would never have gotten to that point.”
In the short term, that’s a loss for McCarthy Tire Service. But Colleen Carter, director of marketing for the tire dealer, reassures Kane Is Able. “We taught you. We empowered you. You’re happier ultimately, and that’s part of our relationship.”
And as Catanzaro says, “We’re catching all these tires in the yard. Who do you think is replacing them for us?”
Before those yard inspections, D’Elia says Kane Is Able was spending thousands of dollars a month on road service calls, which average $300 to $500 apiece. Its monthly tire costs have dropped by half, “because we’re putting a better tire on that lasts longer. At the end of the year, we are literally saving them tens of thousands of dollars.”
Alex Stark, senior director of marketing for Kane Is Able, calls it a “valuable partnership. It always changes. Dynamics change. I don’t think you do business over years and years and years unless you are open to that change, and open to seeing the larger picture.
“Of course you want to sell 200 tires as opposed to 100, just like we want to have a million square feet as opposed to 500,000 square feet. Our partnerships change all the time.”
’We rely on them’
Sometimes customers can also be clients. McCarthy Tire Service Co. Inc. and Petroleum Service Co. (PSC) have that kind of relationship.
PSC’s history is that of an oil company, but it has transformed itself into an online marketplace for not just oil, but also lubricants, greases and fuels for industries ranging from industrial and manufacturing to automotive and racing. Rick Rose, the owner and CEO, says PSC ships to consumers, but also counts business-to-business and business-to-consumer clients as customers. One order might be for 5 gallons of fuel. The next could be for 55-gallon drums or a case. The company has third-party ship relationships, but also manages a fleet with 25 pieces of equipment on the road at any given time in eastern Pennsylvania. “McCarthy Tire keeps all of our regional business rolling, all of our rolling stock, from 9,000-gallon tractor trailers of fuel to bulk trucks or packaged trucks down to our stake body trucks,” Rose says. “They’ve gotten so much more fluid with how they execute. There was a time if something broke down and you’re on the road, you’d have to have it towed. But now they have the bandwidth to get to your equipment and get you back on the road.
“We rely on them. We cannot operate in the local context without them. No way, no how.”
PSC is also a supplier to McCarthy Tire Service. Every McCarthy location has its own portal into the PSC system, and when managers place an order it’s delivered directly to that particular shop. “There was a time when McCarthy was buying for different locations in different states,” Rose says. “We used to deliver that product to McCarthy’s warehouse (in Wilkes-Barre) and then they would break it down and ship it to their stores using their own equipment. We’ve eliminated that.”
PSC also offers product updates and training to McCarthy managers via online video. It’s all part of their unique relationship, which spans generations and multiple companies. Rose’s son leads another McCarthy fleet customer company, Mountain Productions.
“A lot of times you’ll have these relationships and people will get apprehensive about the problems. And the problems do exist and they’re real, and if you don’t address them you’re really setting yourself up for failure,” Rose says. “We’ve always been able to work that out. There’s transparency between the two operations and a lot of integrity, character and honesty that goes into these things.”
Growing with customers at home: How McCarthy Tire Service helps Van Halen, the NFL and the Pope
Wilkes-Barre and the northeastern corner of Pennsylvania may be best known as a region built on coal, but there’s more to the economy than what appears in the history books.
Like McCarthy Tire Service Co. Inc., Mountain Productions Inc. is based in Wilkes-Barre. It was founded in 1979 as a local and regional staging company. A few years after the company’s creation it was chosen as the staging provider for the national tours of Van Halen and The Jacksons. From there, it has grown into the largest staging company in North America. It hauls, designs, engineers and builds stages, amphitheaters and event spaces for hundreds of events each year, spanning from fashion runways and the NFL draft to papal visits, major musical concerts and TV productions like Jesus Christ Superstar.
Ricky Rose is the company’s CEO. Mountain Productions maintains a fleet of 30 power units and 170 trailers to haul decking, steel towers and truss to events across the country. Typically, there’s a one-day turnaround in the yard between shows.
“We can’t afford to have any downtime. They have the responsiveness that we need to get us back out the door,” he says of McCarthy Tire Service. “They work on tires and mechanical. We call them for everything.”
The tire dealership conducts regular inspections on the entire Mountain Productions fleet. Rose says he used to employ his own in-house mechanic, but recently turned over all the work to the hometown tire dealership. They rely on McCarthy’s mobile maintenance service program, which provides trailer services, engine work and general fleet services.
As McCarthy has grown, so has its mobile capabilities. And that’s come as Mountain Productions has expanded, too. The company is doing more events in Florida and opened a facility in North Palm Beach, so more of its trucks are running up and down the eastern corridor.
The staging company also has opened a facility in Sun Valley, Calif., meaning more of its trucks are making cross-country runs.
The families behind Mountain Productions and McCarthy Tire Service have known each other for four generations, and Rose says both families and companies remain committed to their hometown.
“Even though we’ve both grown outside of our boundaries, this is where our heart lies,” Rose says. “I have so much admiration for John. He’s really expanded the business in a substantial way and brought in the next generation. They’re poised for the future under his leadership.”