Networking with non-traditional tire dealers helped produce an impressive turnout for the Virginia Tire & Automotive Service Dealers Association's recent annual convention.
VTASDA Executive Director Steve Akridge said the group experienced the ``best attendance we've had in years'' when it met March 16 at the Omni Hotel in Charlottesville, Va., to elect new officers and directors.
The association's convention, which normally averages 170 attendees, saw that number grow to 250, largely due to the group's recruitment of ``non-traditional'' auto service shops, Mr. Akridge said.
``One of the positive things that we're doing is, we're really recruiting members that are not the traditional, as we would think of, tire dealers,'' he said. ``They don't even have tire in their name. But they sell some tires every now and then as a convenience to their customers.''
Mr. Akridge said the group has been networking with auto service shops through its member tire dealers and suppliers. In Virginia, auto repair shops have no association to represent them in legislative matters or provide discounts on business expenses, and VTASDA has been trying to fill that void, he explained.
One way the group has attempted to do just that is through legislative efforts. A state law that will take effect July 1-which VTASDA and other automotive industry groups lobbied hard for-will raise the bottom lines of tire dealers and repair shops that perform state-mandated vehicle inspections and emissions tests.
Mr. Akridge cited this bill, which increases the annual state inspection fee from $10 to $15 and the emissions fee to $28 from $22, as an example of how VTASDA's activities are attracting those new, non-traditional members. A dealership that performs only 150 inspections per month-and Mr. Akridge said most of VTASDA's members do more-would gain $9,000 in revenue, all without adding bays, people or equipment.
``It's going to mean a lot of money to quite a few of our members,'' he said of the law.
During the convention, the following officers were elected: David Inscoe of University Tire & Auto in Charlottesville, president; Tony Troilo of Rosson & Troilo in Brandy Station, president-elect; and Don Schultz of Hanover Tire in Richmond, secretary-treasurer.
Selected as directors for the 2002-2005 term were: Fran Boyd of Thompson Tire Co. in Pulaski; Walt Newman of Newman Tire in Farmville; and Jim McGlothin of McKelsey Sales Co. in Richlands.