Lyle Kline of Omaha, Neb., asks a very good question in his letter appearing on your opinion page in the April 15 issue. While I have not unloaded a trailer of icy junk tires nor mounted tires during a 12-inch snow, neither have many other Florida tire dealers.
The point is, no one in the business has had each and every experience of all other dealers. Retail, commercial, wholesale, retreading, mechanical services, aftermarket accessories. . .our industry is complex and varied and National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association members come in all sizes and shapes.
I'll be the first to admit I haven't had some of your experiences, Lyle, but I have been actively involved in the business since 1973 and passively since my Dad went to work for Goodyear in 1950.
And I have leadership roles in a variety of areas from Junior League, the Chamber of Commerce, First Union Bank Board, Athletic Advisory Board of a private university, Junior Achievement and the art museum, to the Florida Independent Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association.
I may not know everything about the tire business, but I do know one thing about leadership. A good leader gets to know people, asks questions and listens carefully to the answers. The value of association participation is that it gives us all a chance to meet and speak with people in the industry and hopefully learn from these encounters.
Lyle, I would be pleased to speak with you about the problems of the little guy as you see them. I hope you will call me.
Pamela A. Fitzgerald
Mike Gatto Inc.
Editor's Note: Ms. Fitzgerald said she would like to begin a dialogue with dealers around the country on this or other topics. She can be reached at Mike Gatto Inc., P.O. Box 1568, Melbourne, Fla. 32902-1568; (407) 676-2710; Fax: (407) 952-1302.
Thank you for the March 18 issue about women in the tire business. It certainly was refreshing to see some of the women getting some recognition for their contributions to the tire industry.
The articles were well presented and realistic. I am, however, appalled at the attitude of Mr. Lyle Kline (See Mail Call, April 15 issue.) who feels that a woman who hasn't unloaded a 53-foot trailer full of wet tires or hasn't changed and balanced tires during a 12-inch snow somehow isn't qualified to be president of the NTDRA.
What have those things got to do with anything? I'm sure if he had ever spent any time talking with Pam Fitzgerald (who's in line to become NTDRA president in the fall of 1997), he would find her very knowledgeable about anything to do with the tire business.
She was taught very well by her father and, believe me, being in business with your father is, indeed, an education all of its own.
We don't have to manually do physical labor to understand the rigors and hardship it presents. Sometimes the mental stress and strain on us as women causes us to wish we were physically able to go out and change tires instead.
Give us some credit, Mr. Kline!
Sherry Clay Marcoe
Jeff Clay & Sons Inc.
Repair tires properly
It was good to read the tire repair column by Clarence Ball in the April 15 issue regarding on-the-wheel tire repairs. It reinforced my principles of 22 years in the business.
Last week a man stormed out of my store exclaiming he would never be back. Why? Because I charged him $20 to properly repair his tire. He said when he asked me to fix his tire, he meant he wanted me to ``plug'' it for five or 10 bucks. This person was an executive with a large firm in town. He didn't want to hear about the correct way to repair a tire. I told him after he paid me not to trip on the way out.
The next to last paragraph of Mr. Ball's column (that a lawsuit resulting from the failure of a temporary repair can wipe out a business) sums it up nicely.
This type of repair situation happens about once or twice a month. Most people gladly pay me to fix their tire safely. These are customers we all need. Customers that are stupid, we don't need.
Jaffe Tire Co.