Were you at the show, the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association convention and trade show in the Big Easy, the city of New Orleans? Wow! If not you really missed it.
It was happening there, lots to see, lots to do, with great seminars that were down to earth and helpful ideas to improve your business.
Wait! I know what you're thinking. This goober
hasn't read all the press and listened to all those in the know who say the convention was a bummer.
Well, yes, I have read and heard all about the negatives. Maybe if it gets lousy enough we can call in some foreign association from Japan or France or Italy to take it over. (Oh no, that's what happened to all the big tire companies.) We could merge with Ducks Unlimited or the ARA or the RMA or NFIB or IOU or the Happy Hardware Association. Just think of all the possibilities.
Now look fellas and gals, enough of this negative stuff. The NTDRA is like everything else in this business, it is changing for lots of reasons.(I don't have the time or space to go into that right now.)
One convention or even three does not change the fundamentals of the importance of the NTDRA.
We have all, in this business, benefited from the association's efforts over the years. Jim Faught and all the people worked hard this year to put on a good convention. There was some really good stuff going on despite all the whining.
We Americans are quick to throw rocks, but the foreigners have nothing to compare so that's why they attend the U.S. convention.
Yes, change needs to take place. But in the meantime, ``Be a winner.'' Support your national and state associations. They are working for you year round.
Whether or not you show up, pay dues, contribute, criticize or just don't give a damn, each of us in the tire business would be worse off without the resources of national and state associations.
Speaking of negatives, just think of all the other stuff we have to contend with. Tire companies continue to add new sizes and speed ratings to make your inventory a nightmare.
The public has been bombarded with tire warranties that would have you believe the $39.95 tires will last into the next century with 80,000 to 90,000 mile warranties. The big discounters continue to drive margins into the dirt. But it's OK, we can make it up on valve stems.
Oh, I could go on but tears are already coming to my eyes. Besides, I might go out and do something crazy like go to an Amway meeting.
Oh, no! They sell tires too-AARGH!
Mr. Hughes is president of the Texas Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association and the owner of Superior Tire & Service in Orange, Texas. His column first appeared in the November 1995 issue of the association's newsletter, Texas Tire Trax.