Max Finkelstein Creates Max Edge for Customers
Max Finkelstein Inc. is kicking off its second century in business with Max Edge, a free program that offers tools and business support to its customers.
Kirk Feinswog, director of marketing for Max Finkelstein, says Max Edge has a simple yet big goal.
“Our goal is not just to buy and sell tires and be a supplier to our customers, but really be a partner with our customers and make sure they have the tools available to be successful in this changing marketplace,” Feinswog says. “The longtime survival of independent tire dealers is critical to Max Finkelstein so we want to make sure they have the tools to continue to be successful, not just now in the pandemic, but into the future.”
That means, for the first time, Max Finkelstein will help connect its tire dealer customers with vendors that provide everything from website development and loyalty rewards programs to training and uniforms.
The company has vetted and signed contracts with 18 vendors. They’ve negotiated prices and in every category offered a single vendor exclusive access to Max Finkelstein’s customers. That exclusivity helped Max Finkelstein secure good pricing for dealers, Feinswog says.
“The benefit to them is not just that they’re making their business more efficient and more profitable; they’re getting a better deal through Max Edge than they might get on the open market for these services.”
Dealers have free access to every vendor. “This is all a la carte. You can work with one of our vendor partners (or) you can work with all of them — whatever makes sense for your business.” If a dealer chooses to hire a vendor for a particular service, they pay that vendor directly. There’s no upcharge or service fee from Max Finkelstein and Max Edge.
Feinswog says the wholesale tire distributor had planned to launch Max Edge on April 1. But it was put on hold in light of COVID-19. Max Edge went live five months later.
“We brought our sales team all back in July, let everyone get back to speed through August, and then on September 1st launched Max Edge.”
COVID-19 drove home the need for the program, he says.
“The pandemic magnified some of the things that we were looking at — dealers having a good web presence, (using) social media to communicate with their customers, engaging with customers the way they want to engage, which is online through text messages and web chat,” Feinswog says. “These were things we had planned to include in Max Edge prior to the pandemic, but the pandemic made us see this is going to be even more important going forward.”
Creating Max Edge also comes as Max Finkelstein is adapting and expanding its tire offerings, as well as its footprint.
At the end of 2018 the company added the Bridgestone and Firestone brands — it was the first time in 99 years that the company stocked another Tier One brand (besides Goodyear.) And on Sept. 1 Max Finkelstein added consumer tires from Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. to its product mix.
“We’ve expanded our product screen to be a better supplier to our customers. We’ve enhanced our warehousing. So we’ve done things on the distribution side that we need to do to be better partners with our customers.”
Max Finkelstein operates 15 warehouses, and in September 2019 opened its most western location in Imperial, Pa., not far from the Pittsburgh International Airport. The warehouse serves customers in western Pennsylvania, as well as West Virginia and Ohio. In August of 2020 Max Finkelstein opened a new 600,000 square-foot facility on the eastern side of Pennsylvania in Myerstown.
A new conversation for the sales team
Max Edge helps Max Finkelstein serve as more than just a tire supplier to its customers.
“In the distribution game it’s extremely competitive. The big national distributors are only getting bigger. Our goal is to keep our customers engaged with us and be a one-stop shop for them.
“So far the feedback from the customers has been really positive, and the feedback from our sales team has been really positive because it’s another way for them to engage with their customers. It’s not just talking about a special we have, or here’s where you are with your program numbers. We’re trying to show an interest in our customers’ wellbeing. I think the customers appreciate that.”
How to sign up
Max Edge is open to all Max Finkelstein customers, no matter how large or how small they might be. “As long as you have an account with Max Finkelstein you can participate,” Feinswog says.
When dealers log into their account on the Max Finkelstien website they’ll see a link for Max Edge. That’s where they can also review the vendors and programs available. Dealers can also talk to their sales representative, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Overview of Max Edge
Here's an overview of the vendors available through Max Edge. Max Finkelstein organizes them into two broad categories: advertising and technology partners, and operations and training partners. Dealers can pick and choose the services they want to explore.
Advertising and technology:
KeyMotive Marketing Solutions
My Auto Service
Network Design Consultants
Optimize Social Media
Operations and training:
Blackburn OEM Wheel Solutions
NAPA Auto Parts