Dealer gives a Mustang, gets 12% higher sales
HOUSTON-A tire dealership in Houston saw a 12-percent increase in sales from a new promotion that gave away a 2003 Ford Mustang.
Cartronix Inc. President Carlos Mesa said the three-month contest would likely make an appearance again next year. The retail dealership sells Bridgestone, Firestone, Nitto, Michelin and BFGoodrich brands. The company does not offer automotive service, but it sells other automotive accessories, such as stereos, alarms, window tinting and custom wheels.
In the contest, customers came into the dealership's three stores to register for the prize, though they didn't have to buy anything to be eligible. ``It brought a lot of new customers into the stores,'' Mr. Mesa said.
The day of the drawing, about 500 people came to the live drawing, which was broadcast on local television. The event also featured live music and other entertainment.
Advertising played a major role in the success of the promotion, Mr. Mesa said. The dealership posted signs and banners outside each location, as well as a billboard about six miles away from a store. Television advertising became the cornerstone as the drawing neared.
To pay for the Mustang, Mr. Mesa enlisted several companies as sponsors. Bridgestone/Firestone sponsored the 20-inch wheels on the Ford muscle car. The trade-off for the sponsors was a place in the dealership's advertising that includes the billboard, which will be up for a year on a major road in Houston.
What was his secret to signing on sponsors? ``A lot of phone calls,'' Mr. Mesa said.
Peerless Tyre's Forbes feted as top entrepreneur
DENVER-As 2002 drew to a close, Sam Forbes' reign as the year's top entrepreneur in the Rocky Mountain Region also reached its end.
Mr. Forbes, president, CEO and chairman of Denver-based Peerless Tyre Co., was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the retail category for his region in June.
At the November nationals in Palm Springs, Calif., Rowland Schaefer was named the national winner in the retail category. Mr. Schaefer is the president and chairman of Claire's Stores of Pembroke Pines, Fla. That chain has some 3,000 stores nationally.
But Mr. Forbes, whose company has 54 tire outlets in Wyoming, Colorado, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico and Texas and sales of $100 million in 2001, said he's happy with his regional title.
``I'm pretty humbled by the whole event. I had never won anything like that,'' he said.
His dealership sells primarily Peerless, Bridgestone, Dean and Dunlop brands.
The recognition continued in December with a profile in Chain Store Age magazine.
Mr. Forbes, along with other winners, will be inducted into Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year Hall of Fame. The awards were begun to honor entrepreneurs who sustained successful businesses through ingenuity, Ernst & Young said. Past national winners include executives from Dell Computer Corp., Sun Microsystems and Amazon.com.
Nominations for the 2003 awards will be accepted this spring. For more information, log on to www.ey.com/us/eoy.
Ken Towery's collects 650 coats for kids
LOUISVILLE, Ky.-Ken Towery's Auto Care SuperCenters donated more than 650 coats during a six-week campaign for ``Coats for Kids'' during the holidays, the company said.
Louisville-based Ken Towery's gave customers a $25 gift certificate when they brought in a new or used coat. Cintas, a Cincinnati-based uniform supply company, then cleaned all of the coats.
``We had tremendous response from our customers, many who came in specifically to deliver a coat, not even accepting the $25 gift certificate,'' said President Ken Towery.
The 16-outlet dealership, which was founded in 1971, sells Michelin, BFGoodrich, Uniroyal, Goodyear, Dunlop, Bridgestone, Falken, General, Continental, Kumho, Toyo, Pirelli and Firestone brands. Mr. Towery also owns Ken Towery Wholesale Tires.
Promotion sells 700 bikes; 50 donated
BUFFALO, N.Y.-Dunn Tire L.L.C. donated 50 bicycles to the Toys for Tots campaign in Buffalo as a unique take on a promotion designed by American Care Care Centers Inc.
Patrick Logue, director of marketing and advertising for Bufflao-based Dunn Tire, said ACCC ran the promotion that offered a new Huffy children's bicycle for $9.99 after the purchase of four tires in select brands.
For its own twist, Dunn Tire then gave customers a choice of either keeping the bike or donating it to the popular charity. For every bike donated, Dunn Tire matched it with another bicycle.
In all, Dunn Tire sold about 700 bikes as part of the promotion, Mr. Logue said.
``We thought the bike was great for kids,'' he said. ``You hope on Christmas morning there's a lot of smiling faces.''
Mr. Logue said the promotion didn't drastically affect in-store traffic in the company's 29 outlets in Pennsylvania and New York. But it added incentive when customers were deciding which tires to buy since the deal applied only to select brands.
To promote the offer, which ran from Nov. 1 through Christmas Eve, Dunn Tire had in-store displays and print and broadcast advertisements.
Target Tire goes hunting for good dealer relations
JACKSONVILLE, N.C.-Golf may be the traditional business networking game, but wholesaler Target Tire has found pheasant hunting to be a good alternative.
Jacksonville-based Target took about 30 dealers and others on a hunting trip Oct. 18-22 in South Dakota.
The excursion was part of a series of relationship-building events Target has been hosting for about five years, said President Howard Stein. ``The hunting is wonderful, the food is good,'' he said. ``It's an opportunity for us to entertain our customers.''
Upcoming Target events include a trade show in January with celebrities including Pete Rose, a March trip to Paris for about 200 of Target's closest friends and a fishing trip for 50 to Alaska.
Mr. Stein said the trips can get expensive, but he expects them to pay off in the long run.
``The dealers have responded very favorably to the idea of doing these,'' he said.
Target has 10 locations in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia and is a member of the American Car Care Centers Inc. marketing group. It distributes primarily Bridgestone, Firestone, Hankook, Cooper and Michelin Americas Small Tires (MAST) brands. Through its Buffalo Tire unit, Target also owns and operates 14 retail stores.