On the Rise: Jordan Fraser
Owner/Manager Fountain Tire Crowfoot | Fountain Tire | Age: 31
What was your first job in the industry?
I started my career as a tire technician at a Fountain Tire location very close to the one I own now. I was in high school at the time; I worked weekends as I learned the industry.
What attracted you to the industry?
My brother worked at Fountain Tire and he was my first introduction to the industry. Once I started, I was attracted to the wide variety of work I got to do and how much there was to learn about different makes and models of vehicles coming through our shop. I quickly realized I could move up in the company and build a long-term career. Fountain Tire offers a unique partnership model where store managers can own 50% equity in their local stores, and there are internal management training programs that help pave the path toward store ownership. I briefly considered other career options while I pursued a degree in business management, but the opportunity to own my own store — with the partnership support of head office — pulled me back as soon as I graduated.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?
My biggest challenge to-date has been building a customer base for a brand-new Fountain Tire store. There are several other locations in our city, and we aimed to grow our own business without affecting the customer base of others. Building out the store, hiring a whole new team, developing the business — these have all been great challenges, but highly rewarding too. Within Fountain Tire’s 50/50 ownership model we have the support of our corporate head office for things like marketing, HR, legal, finance and IT, so as a manager I’ve been able to have control of our day-to-day business operations and make decisions about what’s right for our specific store.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
I’ve had a few big influences on my career. My brother, Jeff Fraser, was the one who first introduced me to Fountain Tire. He now owns two locations in Calgary. I also had incredible managers at the Fountain Tire Northland store while I was coming up in my career. One, Scott Kessler, became my formal mentor for the Drive program, which is Fountain Tire’s training program for becoming a successful local store owner. Scott spent a great deal of time with me, teaching me about store ownership and making sure I would pass each module in the program.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
My biggest accomplishment has been partnering with Fountain Tire to own my own store, especially at my age. I’m particularly proud to own and manage an expansion store — a location that didn’t exist previously, and one that I’ve been able to grow with a fantastic team. I have a strong connection to this neighbourhood as well, as I grew up about 10 minutes away from here. It feels great to be able to invest in and give back to the community where I was raised.
Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your work day?
Currently as the owner and manager of the shop I am involved in all aspects of the day to day operations. Typically half of my work day will be spent at the front counter and the other half in the shop. I enjoy helping customers at check in as well as overseeing the process of their vehicle being completed. In down times I will find time for the required office work as well as continually keeping up with inventory, payroll etc. It’s always a full day for me!
What’s one thing you wish someone would have told you before you took your current job?
Fountain Tire’s Drive program ensured I was very prepared to take on the role. I can say that being an entirely new store it was interesting to go through the ins and outs of having to hire all vendors and set up all credit accounts, online portals and acquire all supplies needed to open the shop. It was a very time consuming process.
Tell us about your family.
I have been married to my wife Cheryl for three years and we are just getting used to our 5- month-old Harrison who currently takes up most of our time! Cheryl works for her family’s stainless steel fabrication business in Calgary, Reggin Industries. I have four brothers that all live in Calgary, as well as my parents. We have a lot of help with our newborn!
What did you learn about yourself in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic?
I learned how much importance I placed on the safety of my family, staff and customers. It was an excellent opportunity to be a leader and ensure everyone is doing the right thing and working towards our common goal.
Name a talent you wish you had.
I am very good at remembering vehicles and tire sizes — not so good with names! I would like to improve that.
How do you recover from a bad or stressful day?
Recently it’s been coming home to play with my son before bedtime.
What’s the best book you’ve read lately?
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. It’s an older book but had a ton of interesting and relevant information.
What’s your favorite, can’t-miss podcast?
As a hockey fan I mostly listen to 32 Thoughts to get up to date with the news around the NHL.
If you won an Olympic gold medal, how would you have earned it? (You can make up a sport.)
I believe the only way to earn a gold medal is through determination and willpower from a very early age. As for a specific event — the closest I might have gotten would be tire changing when I was younger!
What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today?
There are a few. One example we deal with a lot is online tire wholesalers and internet pricing. Many people are not shopping the same way as in the past and don’t understand or want to phone in or stop into a shop. That creates many challenges especially for someone shopping for the lowest price.
What advice would you give to tire dealers who are desperate to find good employees?
I’ve been lucky so far at my shop with some long term employees from the very beginning. In my experience though, I’ve had success in the past with starting some younger employees that have no experience and teaching them the industry. It takes a lot of patience and may seem like a lost cause at times, but as a long term investment some of the best tire industry employees I know were found using that method.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
Hopefully continuing to run a successful store - if I’m looking for a different challenge there are many options at Fountain Tire. It’s a place to grow into a different outlook of the tire industry.