Valley Forge Truck & Auto Center Inc., a Philadelphia-area chain of tire dealerships, has become the first participant in American Car Care Centers Inc.'s new ``Master Retailer'' program.
The program is designed for ``middle-range'' tire dealers whose outlets straddle the territories of more than one ACCC member-distributor and who want the benefits of ACCC membership while maintaining direct alliances with tire manufacturers, said ACCC Marketing Director Dave Crawford.
ACCC, the largest dealer marketing group in North America, currently boasts 18 member distributors and more than 1,050 retail locations. Since its inception, ACCC has assigned territories to member distributors, who in turn promote the ACCC program to smaller dealerships within their territories.
The Master Retailer program is designed to offer a middle ground to those dealers who don't quite fit the profile of the member distributor system, according to Mr. Crawford. ``The program opens up a new level for us,'' he said. ``It carves out an area within the areas of existing member distributors.''
Valley Forge Truck, which officially signed on to the Master Retailer program May 10, is a prime candidate for it, Mr. Crawford said. Its operations straddle the territories of three ACCC member distributors; its 10 stores in the Philadelphia area give it a strong position in that market; it has a direct link with Michelin Americas Small Tires; and it is extremely growth-oriented, he said.
``We need to get that type of dealer,'' he said. ``It's been hard to get a lot of multi-store dealerships that member distributors haven't been able to go after.''
Under the Master Retailer program, Valley Forge has the potential to become a member distributor itself some day, according to Mr. Crawford. Meanwhile, member distributors have full participation in the program, providing some ACCC goods and services themselves while others are provided from ACCC headquarters in Memphis, Tenn.
Bill Williams, president of Jack Williams Tire and a member distributor in Valley Forge's area, participated in the ACCC orientation for Valley Forge employees, Mr. Crawford said.
Jon Gerben, president of Valley Forge, was unavailable for comment. In a May 10 ACCC press release, however, Mr. Gerben was quoted as saying that ACCC ``offered us national marketing programs and warranties, greater insight in dealing with suppliers, a network with several prominent retailers across the country and added buying power. As we have grown, we realized that we could accomplish more if we joined a group like ACCC.''