A recent trade show synopsis we read sounded strangely familiar: ``With about 30 percent fewer dealers in attendance than in the past,'' the story began, ``this year's trade show.*.*.*was both better and worse.''
Better, according to the writer, because the reduced participation made it easier to talk with vendors ``without interruptions and with less noise.''
On the other hand, the ``conspicuous absence'' of some manufacturing ``biggies,'' the report said, ``placed a pall on the entire show.'' It also pointed out that a similar trade show this year in Las Vegas caused a ``rift in the industry'' that was ``woefully apparent.''
No, the trade show being described wasn't this year's National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association event in Dallas. It was ``Interbike '94''-called the ``world's largest bicycle trade show.''
Gault on the go
Goodyear's chief, Stanley Gault, was the recent subject of a one-on-one ``Newsmakers'' interview with Akron TV station WAKC, an ABC affiliate.
In the half-hour chat, which covered a wide range of subjects, Mr. Gault related how he caught a lot of flack, including some hate mail, when he decided the tire maker needed to switch its corporate colors to blue and gold, from its ages-old blue and white. But he said some wrote back later to say they liked the change.
On the news that General Tire was relocating its headquarters to Charlotte, N.C., he said Goodyear was ``upset'' over its competitor ``abandoning'' Akron.
About his reputation as a ``super salesman,'' Mr. Gault admitted since taking over Goodyear's top post, he has personally sold ``hundreds'' of Goodyear tires to people he has met. And he said he still gets a feeling of pride every time he's driving and sees his company's famous blimp floating overhead.
Ahoy there, matey
Sometimes a simple ``thanks'' doesn't quite suffice.
Jim Blythe, manager of a Big O Tires store in Pleasant Hill, Calif., tallied record sales for this past August. That made him happy enough. But then, in apparent appreciation for a good job, a customer presented him with a 24-ft. cabin cruiser. Yep, you read that right.
``I guess you could call it a tip,'' Mr. Blythe told Big O's Treadmore Tribune newsletter, explaining that the craft was given to him by the son of a loyal customer who recently passed away. The deceased boat owner ``was a good, steady customer,'' Mr. Blythe noted, ``but I had no idea he liked us that much!''
Have you ever received an odd gift from a customer for services rendered? Let us know-we'll share your story with our readers. Write to Marketplace, in care of TIRE BUSINESS, 1725 Merriman Rd., Suite 300, Akron, Ohio 44313.
Young and the reckless
Young and the reckless
Driving in their parents' van, a 9-year-old Moreland, Idaho, boy and his 6-year-old brother recently led police on a high-speed chase on Interstate 15.
The boys were stopped unharmed after a 40-mile pursuit that varied from 45 mph to 75 mph. Before being released to their parents, they told police officers they were trying to run away from home.
State Police Sgt. Davis Johnson said, to his recollection, he'd never seen runaways in that age group. ``That's pretty young.'' The boys didn't say where they were going. ``They were just leaving,'' he said.
The 9-year-old drove the van and was near Idaho Falls when he caught the attention of a patrol officer. According to a police report, the boy was trying to pass the trooper when he nearly collided with the patrol car. The trooper began pursuit, and following a check of the license plate and a phone call to the boys' parents, police realized who was driving.
Authorities helped control traffic during the chase to keep other cars away. The trip finally ended when police blocked the interstate near an exit.
Apparently, the boys decided to run away after hearing subliminal messages by playing Barney (the purple dinosaur) tapes backwards for hours. Just kidding.
This ad will self-destruct
Should you choose to accept this offer...Belle Tire, an independent dealership based in Detroit, recently advertised ``up to 50 percent off'' manufacturers' base prices on every name brand tire it carries. In a takeoff on the old TV series, Belle's ad in the Detroit News was headlined, ``Michelin Impossible.'' A little theme music, maestro.
Christmas wish list
``Safe-T-Man'' life-size, ``personal safety companion''-a latex doll that is said to look ``like a rugged 180 pound man, yet weighs less than a baby''-is being sold as a defense against carjackings. (It also makes for a cheap date.) Contact Safe-T-Man Inc. in Santa Barbara, Calif. Hurry!