Sometimes, conversations around the pool can be just as entertaining as those around a bar. Well, at many industry events, those gathering spots are one in the same.
One such exchange — which occurred poolside in the Dominican Republic on the final day of the recent Gold Trip for Continental dealers — accentuated the importance of the independent tire dealer.
Kerry Gross, the fourth-generation operator of Gross Tire Center in Williamsport, Pa., recounted a story that illustrates just that.
About 20 years ago, Gross and his wife used to frequent a big-box store every Sunday. While his wife shopped for groceries, Gross would peruse the tire department, checking out prices, stock, store cleanliness, etc.
"It was competitive research," Gross said. "I knew the layout of the store, what tires were in what aisles. ... The whole place was laid out in the back of my mind."
While in the shop one day, one of his father's customers drove his recently purchased, late-model Ford van to the store. The customer had bought a studded snow tire at a yard sale, and he wanted to purchase a second from Gross Tire.
One problem: The tire was a private brand label, only sold at that big-box store. Gross told the customer where to buy it, then bring it back to him, and he would stud and mount both tires.