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Published on April 25, 2005

Mail Call, April 25

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Opinion

Beating out Wal-Mart

In regards to Jeff Mobley's letter in the March 14 issue about independent tire dealers trying to compete with the "Wally Worlds" (Wal-Mart Stores Inc.) and other discount houses, I agree with a lot of what he said.

Wal-Mart has been good for the economy in that it creates jobs. However, I hate seeing how the company gobbles up the small businessman. Nothing gripes me more than to see our "mom and pop" businesses having to shut their doors after years of being in business because Wal-Mart has run them out.

Stewart's Wholesale Tire is a single-location retail dealership that is family owned and operates with only two service bays in a small town.

We don't perform any type of automotive services except tire and wheel sales and tire repair. We stock passenger, light truck, 18-wheeler, lawn, farm and some industrial tires.

We've been in business since 1973 and have a Wal-Mart Supercenter just over a mile away. We're often asked if Wal-Mart hurts our business any. We answer (honestly) that we don't know they're in the same town.

Wal-Mart's slogan is that it can't be undersold and will match competitors' prices. We do a great job of matching and often beating Wal-Mart's prices.

It is, of course, easier to match them than beat them. But we offer the public quality service and take time to educate each customer on tire safety and proper maintenance.

We don't do a lot of advertising, but last summer I came up with an ad we couldn't resist running in our local newspaper. In it, I pointed out what services we provide, one of which is pickup and delivery of vehicles, as well as quick service.

I then pointed out all the years of combined experience our techs and management team have between us, how long we've been in business and what brands we stock. The last line reads: "COMPETITIVE—If we don't beat the discount houses on the first quote, let us know. WE CAN AND WE WILL!"

We've built our company on reputation, and reputation goes a long way in a small town. We understand people are going to try Wal-Mart at least once to see if they can get a cheaper price. But sometimes a cheaper price can mean cheaper service.

Tracy M. Cox

Assistant Manager

Stewart's Wholesale Tire Co. Inc.

Pulaski, Tenn.

Pressure vs. temperature

I think instead of a TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) a TTMS (tire temperature monitoring system) would be better.

This system would take into account the load and speed factor. It levels the playing field for all vehicle manufacturers and tire manufacturers.

This system would provide a true (real-time) picture of what your tires are doing as you drive. It also would take into account the quality of the various brands of tires and their capabilities.

Since heat is the true enemy of tires, let's monitor that.

I also believe nothing should be attached to the valve stem—it should be inserted into the wheel as a separate service device. Wheel manufacturers and stem manufacturers have enough problems with what they offer now.

Dean Drake

Owner

Commercial Tire Co.

Union, Mo.

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