CHARLOTTE, N.C.Tire Pros dealers across the country are supporting breast cancer research this fall individually and collectively through their own efforts as well as those coordinated by the program's administrator, American Tire Distributors Inc.
Collectively, in October some Tire Pros dealers are participating in two fund-raising efforts for breast cancer researchfirst by selling pink- and black-colored AutoTex-brand wiper blades and donating a portion of the proceeds to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, and second by agreeing to donate 10 percent of the value of brake services they perform during the month to the Cleveland Clinic Breast Cancer Vaccine Research Fund.
Wexco Inc.'s AutoTex pink program, now in its sixth year, also supports the Breast Cancer Society of Canada.
The latter program, Brakes for Breasts, supports an organization in its fifth year that has raised more than $220,000 across the country for the Cleveland Clinic research fund.
Tire Pros corporate has arranged for local parts suppliers nationwide to donate brake pads to participating dealers and shops, which then offer free pads to customers, Tire Pros said. Customers pay for labor and any additional parts. Tire Pros stores then donate 10 percent of the value of the brake jobs to the Cleveland Clinic fund.
The Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Vincent Tuohy has spent the past 11 years working on a breast cancer vaccine that would both prevent the disease and keep it from recurring, and has secured enough funding to move the drug to clinical trials.
Dr. Tuohy, an immunologist at the Clinic's Lerner Research Institute, will head up a spin-off company called Shield Biotech that will work to commercialize the vaccine. She will serve as chief science officer.
Beyond the national programs, several regional groups of Tire Pros dealers have teamed up to support the cause, ATD/Tire Pros said.
In Alabama, two Tire Pros dealer groups banded together to support separate Tires for Tatas programs that benefited two charities.
In the Birmingham-area, Warren, Warrior, A&R, Southern Rubber, Cahaba and McGriff Tire Pros raised more than $7,200 for breast cancer research through the Susan G. Komen Foundation of North Central Alabama through their Tires for Tatas program.
As part of the campaign, each shop donated $2 for every tire sold in the month of July to the foundation to provide support and educational services to cancer patients. Each dealer received a point-of-sale kit that included a large outdoor banner and creative files to incorporate in their local marketing efforts.
Doing things like this is the right thing to do...and who out there is not for finding a cure for breast cancer? I can't think of anyone, said Bryant Gilmer, owner of Southern Rubber Tire Pros in Birmingham. This is something I foresee us doing annually because it made our community aware that we are here to serve them, not just to make a buck.
In Alabama's central River Region, several Tire Pros dealersincluding Gipson's, Wetumka, Toulouse and Sexton Tire Prosunited for a similar Tires for Tatas program in August benefitting the Cancer Wellness Foundation of Central Alabama. Each shop donated $2 for every tire sold during August to the foundation that also provides support and educational services to cancer patients.
With the help of the Tire Pros marketing team, the Tire Pros dealers launched an advertising campaign that included broadcast TV, Web and social strategies. The Tire Pros dealers of Central Alabama raised more than $7,400 for the Cancer Wellness Foundation of Central Alabama.
One of the central messages that Tire Pros uses in its marketing is Feel Good, Buy Local, showcasing the emotional connection from supporting local stores, local people and local economies, according to B. Quick Chadwick, director of marketing for Tire Pros.
In July, four Tire Pros dealers with five locations in Chattanooga, Tenn.Johnson, Quality, Barnes, and Premier Tire Pros launched a Treads for Hope campaign that raised more than $7,100 for the Austin Hatcher Foundation, an organization dedicated to erasing the effects of pediatric cancer and optimizing each child's quality of life.
Participating dealers donated $2 per tire sold throughout the month to the foundation. The campaign generated several media mentions including a clip on TV.
Lynn Massengill, owner of Premier Tire Pros outlets in Ooltewah and Cleveland, Tenn., actively promoted the campaign in store and on social media and other Web strategies. Customers loved it and we engaged in several conversations where they thanked us for giving back, he said.