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SEMA Show, Day One: J.T. comes along for the Ride

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"We're just getting into tires," says Leland "L.T." Taylor, Internet manager and "buyer" for Ride Accessories Inc. in Dallas, Texas.

He flew into the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show for the sixth time a day early just to attend the "From Desktop to Pocket: the Future of Internet Information" seminar sponsored by eBay Motors Inc. and the SEMA Education Institute.

The five-year-old Internet business is big in accessories and wheels -- and niche marketing.

"We really sell some unique accessories that the big guys aren't selling," says Taylor. For example, floor mats with safari or Oriental designs.

Business is up 40% this year in a down economy, he says. "I attribute a lot of it to (last year's) conference, mainly the Google-Adwords seminar. It really taught me a lot about advertising."

As for tires, Taylor says the company stocks around 200 Michelin, Pirelli, Hankook and Dunlop tires, and buys from local wholesale distributors such as Kaufmann Tire and TCI when needed. Tire Rack also gets orders from Ride Accessories.

He plans to check out the Global Tire Expo, looking for less expensive brands and fuel economy tires because that's what his retail, online customers are asking for.

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