Wholesale Distribution

The Secret to Dunlap & Kyle's Wholesale Success Is Service

Tire Dealership Doesn't Expect a Downturn

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Dennis King had no plans of following his father to work at Dunlap & Kyle. But a 30-minute conversation with CEO Bob Dunlap upended his career plans. King is now president of the regional wholesale tire dealership.

| Photo Credit: Joey Brent

While some are worrying about the economy and what it might do to the tire industry, Dunlap & Kyle Co. Inc. President Dennis King isn’t expecting a downturn.

“Business has been great this year,” he says. “It was great last year and as of right now we’re a little bit ahead of where we were last year.”

In 2021, the company crossed the $1 billion mark in wholesale sales for the first time — $1.2 billion to be exact.

There may be a slight softening ahead of the midterm elections, says King. For example, consumers might opt for two tires instead of four or a single instead of a pair, “but I think once the midterms are over, it will go back to pretty close to normal.”

Unit sales are flat or off slightly, but inflation is enough to keep total sales above last year’s marks.

King says he was worried that if fuel prices hit the $5 mark, passenger and light truck tire sales would suffer. But the prices never hit that level in the Southeast and have stayed well below $4 a gallon — recently dropping below $3.50 a gallon in many markets.

The company’s ag tire market is seasonal, but indicators so far are positive. Interest rates may affect housing and other types of construction and that can trickle down to tires. But there’s not much Dunlap & Kyle can do about that, says King.

“You just have to live with it and make sure you out-service your competition. You can’t depend on price to be the biggest thing that helps you sell product.

“You certainly want to be competitive and offer a good value to your customer, but the most important thing is to be able to service your customer. That’s one of the things Bob has said since the day I came here. ‘Make sure you do your adjustments quickly. They can buy tires from anybody, but (they) want somebody who’s going to get the order right and who’s going to take care of it if the order is wrong.’”

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