Tire Factory Members 'Get to the Point' at Dealer Meeting
Nine months after Tire Factory Inc.’s former CEO announced its members would join Point S and rebrand their stores, Tire Factory dealers gathered for their annual meeting in Portland, Ore. It was the first comprehensive gathering of members since the May 2015 announcement.
Eric Gill, chairman of the Tire Factory board, said 85% of the cooperative’s 200 members registered to attend the Feb. 11-13, 2016, meeting. Gill, who owns 14 stores and is the largest Tire Factory dealer, has begun the transition of rebranding his own stores. Members visited one of those stores, Brown’s Point S in Portland, during an afternoon bus tour of three rebranded shops owned by three dealers in the Portland area.
“Not only are we remodeling for our customers, we’re remodeling for our employees,” Gill said. “They want to work for a company that they see a vision, and Point S is really hitting home with them.”
Not all dealers have been on board with the change, and some came to the meeting ready to air those frustrations. Some admitted time had softened their anger, and others said talking to their peers and seeing how three dealers had adapted their Tire Factory stores into the Point S brand had helped them open their eyes to the possibilities.
Walter Lybeck, Tire Factory’s interim CEO, told dealers he believes Tire Factory and Point S are positioned to grow. (There are 200 Tire Factory members in 13 western states, and more than 500 Point S stores in North America.) “We’re growing east,” he said. “I believe we can be the third largest in North America,” falling behind Discount Tire and Tire Pros, the franchise program backed by American Tire Distributors Inc.
Growth though is predicated on finding the right kind of tire dealer, Lybeck said. “We are not recruiting every tire dealer. We are looking for top notch, high quality dealers you want in this group.”
Lybeck said creating marketing programs for dealers will be a key focus of 2016, and it will be centered on this tagline: “Get to the point.”
Lybeck, who has worked for Tire Factory for five years as its chief financial officer, told dealers his philosophy as he has lead the company through the transition. “I need to earn your business. I cannot expect your loyalty.
“I need to show you guys when you buy from Tire Factory it’s the right place to buy. I want you to feel you want to buy from us, not that you have to buy from us.”
During the event’s trade show, members also got a look at the first private label tire. The Point S Winter Star ST, manufactured by Continental AG, will be available for the 2016-17 winter season. A Point S light truck tire will come next.