GREENVILLE, S.C. (Feb. 1, 2002)—Race car drivers and race tracks dominated the landscape at Target Tire & Automotive Inc.'s annual dealer meeting, Jan. 18-20 in Greenville.
Guest speakers included racing great Mario Andretti, who appeared courtesy of Bridgestone/Firestone (BFS), along with a sports psychologist who talked about the importance of peak performance and its components.
Mr. Andretti's appearance was fitting in that Bridgestone/Firestone announced it will roll out the Firehawk Indy 500 tire this May. Mr. Andretti—whose son, Michael, is also an oval track champ—is a former Indianapolis 500 champion.
“Everyone was excited to hear what (Mr. Andretti) had to say,” said Howard Stein, president of Target Tire, which is primarily a Southeast-based wholesale company serving Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.
The new BFS Indy tire and several others were introduced at the meeting by BFS's John Gamauf, vice president of consumer dealer sales (see story on page 3).
Meanwhile, Mr. Stein reaffirmed his company's loyalty to the American Car Care Centers Inc. dealer marketing group, noting the format for the opening night of Target Tire's yearly get-together will be changed: The Friday night dinner will now be dedicated to ACCC, a practice that Target actually began last year.
“Despite the fact we have 230 Michelin Alliance accounts, we still are hanging our hat on American Car Care Centers,” Mr. Stein said.
The rest of the weekend featured meetings on Saturday afternoon, a banquet that evening, and a Sunday roundtable discussion that afforded dealers a chance to ask questions about Target Tire. They also had the opportunity to query fellow dealers about their businesses and how they handle different situations that arise, Mr. Stein said.
The meeting also included give-aways—two participants left with $10,000 cash prizes from a reverse drawing—along with a trade show where tire suppliers and various equipment manufacturers could show off their wares.
From Target's point of view, the highlight of the meeting may have been the sale of more than 100,000 tires. Special deals were available for dealers in attendance, according to Mr. Stein, with incentive-laden packages available such as a trip for two to Las Vegas.
He estimated attendance at about 600, including Target employees, suppliers, dealers and spouses. The executive was happy with the turnout and the meeting in general.
“My perspective might be different from those in attendance,” he said. “From mine, it's the best meeting we ever had. From a planning perspective, it went very smoothly.”
Jacksonville, N.C.-based Target has 10 distribution centers and annual sales of more than $100 million.