PUYALLUP, Wash. — Sisters Courtney Condor and Cassandra White took over their father's struggling RNR Tire Express franchise in Puyallup eight years ago and have turned it into a thriving business geared to female customers.
The turnaround was so extraordinary, RNR CEO Larry Sutton named the store the "Most Improved RNR Tire Express in 2014."
"We were not giving up without a solid fight on the company," Ms. Condor said. "It was dying on the vine, but we knew it just needed a little tender loving care, and we could bring it back."
So the sisters fixed the profitability and cash flow of the business and made changes to the staff, the pricing structure, the appearance — and they geared the operation to attract female customers.
When women shop and are more comfortable, they will keep coming back, the sisters said. They'll bring their friends; they'll bring their family.
A lot of the franchisees' customer base are single mothers who are on a budget but need to make sure their families are safe.
"We really, really geared ourselves towards that," Ms. Condor said.
That included eliminating tall stands on the showroom floor for a better view of the area, repainting the interior, cleaning the store, etc.
"We get more compliments on how clean our store is and how clean our bathrooms are. We definitely geared it toward women clientele. …" Ms. Condor said.
"We had to make a point that not only were we female owners, female-run, but that we respected the female's opinion and that she wasn't a second-rate customer. She was our first customer."
The sisters, who are only 17 months apart in age, worked for years in their parents' franchise businesses.
Ms. White, a car buff, served as the RNR store manager for a while before moving to home-office manager duties, while Ms. Condor was involved in the behind-the-scenes of their father's traditional rent-to-own business.
While Ms. White already had the tire shop knowledge, she and her sister had to update their know-how on the latest technology when their father retired and gave them the RNR franchise to run.
The sisters see themselves as a yin-and-yang team when it comes to their skills and business acumen, but they share a similar management philosophy.
The sisters said they are close, but of course there are times when they disagree.
"We both excel at different things," Ms. White said, noting that she's involved in the day-to-day activities of the shop, including payroll and accounting, while her sister is involved in handling inventory, purchasing and advertising.
Ms. Condor said she didn't have much interest in cars and how they work but eventually she said she realized, "If you don't understand how to sell tires and how they function, the rest of the financial side doesn't matter."
"You have to understand your business and know how to be a salesperson in your business. If you can't sell it, you can't make money. So I had to change my frame of thought," she said.
The sisters said developing a successful business takes patience and compassion.
"You have to know what your expectations for yourself are first and then be willing to express your expectations to your people second. But ultimately it's the person I look at in the mirror that's the most important. If I'm unwilling to give the effort, I can't expect my people to give the effort," Ms. Condor said.
"Our employees bought into us and then bought into the business. If you can't sell your dream to somebody else, it's never going to come to fruition. You have to get people to surround you and everybody lift each other up," Ms. White added.