ORLANDO, Fla.—They came from far away to the land of the mouse, not to visit the Magic Kingdom but rather to try to discover some tire magic.
Representatives from Caribbean Tire Wholesale Ltd. travelled from Belize in Central America to Orlando recently to participate in the International Tire Exhibition & Conference (ITEC) event for tire dealers and auto service establishments. The seven employees making the journey had one thing in mind: soak up all the tire industry education they could.
“It's so difficult to get and keep up with training—it takes a lot of effort,” said David Reimer, Caribbean Tire's owner. That's especially true in areas like tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) updates, he added.
Tomas Torres, manager of a Caribbean Tire retail store on the border of Belize and Mexico—the outlet's market is Mexico and it operates in a duty-free zone—acknowledged the need for continued industry training. Caribbean Tire brought the group of employees to ITEC, he said, “so we can absorb as much as possible.”
They participated in a number of seminars offered during the event with the goal to return home and share the information with fellow workers.
The dealership, according to Mr. Reimer, is the largest tire distributor in Belize. Its operation includes three wholesale distribution centers and seven retail outlets countrywide. In business since 1985, the company handles all major brands.
Belize, on the northeastern coast of Central America, is the only country in the region that has English as its official language, according to an Internet source. It is a country of some 8,800 square miles and has an estimated 2014 population of 340,844—the lowest population density in Central America.
“Business has been good. We've seen steady increases in sales over the years,” Mr. Reimer told Tire Business. “We supply about 70 percent of all the tires in our country.”
One of the biggest ongoing problems the company faces, Mr. Torres said, is getting a steady stream of supply because “it takes longer for everything to get to our country.”
You can add to that the headache of tire size proliferation, Mr. Reimer noted. “We try to keep as many sizes as we can in stock. Everyone depends on us to have everything under the sun.”
So, Mr. Torres chimed in, “sometimes you overstock, and that means those tires sit for a long time in the warehouses and age.”
To reach this reporter: [email protected]; 330-865-6130.