One of the amazing attributes of independent tire dealers is that even when a catastrophe strikes, it doesn't keep them down for long. Such was the case with two dealerships in Moberly, Mo., which fell victim to a tornado that touched down in the town of 13,000 residents July 4.
One dealership, Mike's Tire, was leveled; the other, Ron's Tire & Automotive Inc., suffered structural damage and had its showroom wiped out.
About 30 other businesses in all and 460 homes were damaged by the storm.
But within a week both dealerships had reopened, thanks to the hard work and quick action of their owner and manager, respectively.
The stories are inspiring. In both cases, the leaders of those dealerships did whatever was necessary to put their operations back in business and begin servicing their customers as soon as possible.
Improvising with what was available, Mike Wamsley, owner of Mike's Tire, salvaged lumber from his demolished dealership, set up a temporary lean-to and parked trailers in his lot for inventory purposes. Six days after the storm hit, the dealership, which was not insured, reopened for business.
As for Ron's Tire, the morning after the storm Manager Joe Welch was on the phone making arrangements to move the dealership into a vacant John Deere dealership located nearby.
Employees spent the next few days salvaging what they could from the damaged store and moving the operation to the new location. The dealership reopened at the new site a week later.
Like postal workers who can be counted on to deliver the mail through all types of inclement weather, independent tire dealers can be counted on to go to extremes to service their customers.
It's that inherent entrepreneurial spirit-the willingness to rise up against stiff odds and take whatever action is necessary-that separates the independent dealer from the competition.