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Challenges Abound for Dealers: What Are You Up Against?

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Tire Source

Tom White (left) and TJ White recently shared some of the challenges they are facing at their six-location dealership with MTD.

With nearly 30 years at the helm of Tire Source, an independent tire dealership that has six locations throughout northeastern Ohio, Tom White has dealt with just about every tire retailing scenario that you can imagine.

In a recent issue of MTD, we posed three questions to Tom and his son, TJ White, who manages one of Tire Source’s locations, about how they have successfully neutralized the impact of mass merchandisers on their business, how they have maintained margins in an increasingly crowded marketplace and effective strategies they have employed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are some excerpts from the interview, which, directly enough, is subtitled “Three Questions with Tom and TJ White from Tire Source.” (Click here to read the full story.)

On competing with mass merchandisers: “Our customers are looking for a place where they can bring their cars and where they feel there are very qualified people changing their tires,” said Tom. “And we form that personal relationship with the customer. That’s our theme. We want to be partners with our customers. They want that extra care. Box stores don’t have that touch.”

On maintaining strong margins: “We’re very adamant about making sure we offer in-house road hazard protection to every customer,” says TJ. “It’s one of those things we try to add onto every package.”

On managing through COVID-19: “We made sure we had inventory on-hand,” said Tom. “We were probably at our highest inventory level at the beginning of COVID-19. It was kind of counter-intuitive that we were going to add inventory and drop cash down. But we kept a clean line of communication with our vendors. We didn’t have to dip into our cash reserves.”

If I’ve learned one thing as editor of MTD, it’s that our readers love to read about what their fellow tire dealers are doing, since many of you face the same challenges, regardless of the size, scope and location of your respective businesses.

And I suspect that in times like these, those insights are more valuable than ever.

What challenges are you facing and how are you overcoming them? Let me know by contacting me at We'll talk about them in a future edition of this blog.



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