ENGLEWOOD, Colo.-Soon it'll be ``no more pencils, no more books'' at Big O Tire Inc.'s ``university'' in Mesa, Ariz. By this June, the company's training center will move-lock, stock and tire changers-reopening in brand new surroundings in west Denver, several miles from Big O's Englewood headquarters.
Like its Mesa predecessor, the new home for ``Big O University'' will be an actual retail store, located in a shopping mall anchored by such retail heavyweights as Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
The Mesa location already was a two-year-old retail store when Big O rechristened it as a training facility in early 1993. Its first class graduated on May 21 of that year.
But the Mesa site was becoming outdated, according to Kelly O'Reilly, Big O vice president of marketing. For example, it lacked a drive-through speed lane.
The center offers new franchisees an opportunity to learn the ropes of retailing through a five-week curriculum of topics including performance tires/wheels; advanced sales training; accounting, marketing; undercar services; and financial management. Students actually get to try their hand at retailing in the showroom.
Refresher courses also are offered for experienced personnel.
The new center will be used as a ``test ground'' for various Big O marketing programs and ideas, Ms. O'Reilly said, and its location will allow easy access for corporate trainers and executives. It will feature a mezzanine area-normally used for office space or storage-that will house classrooms and a meeting area.