"Cautiously optimistic" describes how many independent tire dealers feel as they move through the second half of what has been an incredibly tumultuous year. This week, MTD will share what executives from several independent tire dealerships that appear on the 2020 MTD 100 think the rest of 2020 will bring and how they are positioning their businesses for continued success. (Read MTD Editor Mike Manges' recent Tire Talk blog about the MTD 100 here!)
John McCarthy Jr., president of Wilkes-Barre, Pa.-based McCarthy Tire Service Co. Inc., which is ranked number 21 on this year's MTD 100, is looking to the rest of 2020 with a sense of optimism.
"I like to look for the positives," says McCarthy, who was named MTD's Tire Dealer of the Year in 2019. "Everything we're hearing from the manufacturers we do business with is that they are expecting growth in the third quarter and more growth in the fourth quarter."
The dealership has 60 outlets, including 13 GCR Tires & Service locations it acquired from Bridgestone Americas Inc. in 2019. McCarthy says his team will spend the rest of the year integrating those locations into the company's overall operations.
"Normally, when we look at our history, we acquire and then bring those operations into our own and make sure their culture and the way they go to market is integrated into how we do things."
McCarthy notes that many existing customers have grown their business with the dealership, which operates in eight states. "Home delivery fleets are up, UPS is up - that's the kind of customer I'm talking about," he says. "Those customers have been extremely busy - not just on the tire side, but on the mechanical side. They're running all-out right now. Bottled water companies, beverage distributors, some medical supply groups... we also do business with a lot of supermarket chains. Their trucks have been running non-stop.
"But there are other companies that have closed down," he adds. "We have a big customer that's a dental supply company with 1,500 employees. Eighty percent of their business has gone away. We've tasked our sales force with identifying customers that have continued to run."
McCarthy says tire dealers should use this time to re-evaluate how they approach the market. "You can't do everything the same way you did even four months ago. Unfortunately, there are some who think all you need to do to pick up business is cut price."
McCarthy Tire hasn't succumbed to that temptation. "It's costing us more money to do business now. We're paying our frontline associates bonuses every month for what they've had to go through. It's not easy to do that with profits being down."