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Q&A with Joe Houdeshell

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Q: What are your business growth expectations heading into 2016?

A: “I think that we should expect a 15- to 20-percent increase over this year.”

Q: What leads you to believe you'll hit that big of an increase?

A: “Well, we opened the store last year. We had some pretty bad weather in the fall, so we missed a lot there. This just being our second year, from what I've seen, that kind of increase is what we expect.”

Q: Would you characterize 2015 as not being a great year for your company then?

A: “No. For the first year in business, the shop was closed for eight months before we could reopen it. We had to essentially rebuild our customer base that was already established there. The shop's been open since 1974, but closing for eight months made it a hard transition.”

Q: What was it that kept your business closed for so long?

A: “Well, when the other company's lease expired, they just left the building in such bad shape we had to rehab the whole building.

“And then we had a hard time getting my equipment suppliers to get out here and get everything installed and operational.

“It's hard to get anybody to respond properly here in Tennessee. We're kind of out in the country. The service the equipment manufacturers provide out here can be pretty slow. They just kind of do things when they get around to getting it done.”

Q: What plans do you have for (2016) in terms of expansion or upgrades?

A: “This is a store that's been open since '74, so it's an old six-bay Goodyear facility with a warehouse that's probably five times bigger than it needs to be and a showroom that's probably just as big. We don't really have any room to expand there. We're just set on expanding our sales, and that's all I can really do.”

Q: How long all together have you been in the industry?

A: “Well, the shop I'm working at right now, I started there when I was 9 years old. I've been in it a long time.”

Q: Do you have any other stores?

A: “I had three stores in Atlanta that I sold last year.”

Q: Did you buy out Mid Tenn Tire from the old owner then? How did that come about?

A: “No, my dad ran the store initially, and he owned the property. Then he leased it out to another dealer for 25 years, but that lease expired.”

Q: What else do you see coming down the pipe in 2016 insofar as challenges go?

A: “I'm pretty old school, so we're our main competitor. It's just in the services that we provide. You've got to do a good job and stand behind your work. If you don't, well, that's your main competition.

“Once we can get people to come in the door the first time, they typically like us and come back, but the tire business isn't like it was in the '80s and "90s.

“Most of our revenue comes off of service now. Tire Discounters and Discount Tires, they're all tires. Goodyear definitely doesn't help us with tire pricing.

“I can go to any of my competitors and buy tires cheaper than I can buy from Goodyear, so we mostly focus on service.”

Q: What percentage of your business would you say is service compared to tires?

A: “It's probably 75 percent service.”

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TB Reader Poll

Previous | Published February 1, 2019

What issue concerns you most heading into 2019?

The threat of more tariffs.
27% (27 votes)
The new Congress in Washington.
35% (35 votes)
Price fluctuations for the products we sell.
10% (10 votes)
More disruptions across the industry.
29% (29 votes)
Total votes: 101
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