Adapting, adjusting, and evolving
Garden Grove, Calif.—After years of averaging 5 percent growth, business suddenly took off for Joe Sproha in 2017.
“If you had told me five years ago that we’d see 12 percent growth in one year I wouldn’t have believed it,” said Sproha, who is general manager Morrison Tire & Service in Garden Grove.
From 2012 to 2016, the shop averaged 5 percent growth per year, until it launched into double digits after updating and adding new equipment and pursuing constant training, guided by Robert Queneau, ASE Master certified lead technician.
Paul Morrison, CFO, added that growth is also due to other factors, including many new people moving into the area and the average age of customers’ vehicles getting older, bringing the bounty of more maintenance.
“Overall, we’ve grown by adapting. As the tire industry changes and service and repair evolves, so do we,” said Morrison, who has been with the shop, which began in 1935 with his grandfather, James S. Morrison, since 1979.
Another important factor is customer satisfaction and retention, and customers see the same faces every visit, he said, noting that his staff has been with him an average of 20 years, unlike others that rotate managers from store to store.
Adding to the mix is increased word-of-mouth from existing customers and welcoming Kukui on board.
“Kukui integrates with our POS system, so they can track when a customer calls in from the number on our website, tell us if the customer came into the store, and if the customer purchased. They also built our website for a strong online presence.
“Through Kukui, we have a variety of Google AdWords campaigns that we run, which direct prospective customers to our website for Goodyear’s mail-in-rebate tire promotions or service coupons. We also send out hand-written ‘thank you’ cards, and we are constantly marketing service work.”
Tire sales roll into general repair
The shop sells all major tire brands and has an 83-year history with Goodyear, from which they buy direct through TireHub so he is able to offer Goodyear tire brands at guaranteed low prices.
Morrison added, however, that he isn’t happy that Goodyear is getting into the online retail tire business.
“I don’t lose sleep over it, though. We have been here a long time and can compete against the best of them. We just find it’s not a great way for a supplier to build a good relationship with its customers.”
Morrison’s 500-plus on-site tire inventory allows for immediate selection of Goodyear, Dunlop, and Kelly tires, and its off-site warehouse with thousands of tires in stock allows same day installation on almost any brand.
As a full-service auto repair facility and a member of the Goodyear Tire & Service Network, the largest nationwide warranty company in the business, he said, they can provide a two-year/24,000-mile warranty on most car repairs.
The business model is built on volume, with a daily car count of 23 and an average RO ranges from $250 for mechanical repair to $600 with tires.
“We have the equipment to perform everything from scheduled maintenance to the most intricate repairs and major engine diagnostics,” Morrison said. “Our technicians are ACDelco, Goodyear TSN, and ASE-certified, including three ASE-master techs, and a commitment to provide customers with the best possible experience.”
The two-story, 13-bay facility, is housed in two buildings, has 16 employees, and features a Hunter four-wheel alignment system with updated PC software to include steering angle sensors and OBDII access, a Corghi rim-clamp tire machine, a Coats tire balancer, a Pro-Cut on-car brake lathe (required by OEMs for warranty-related brake repair), two AAMCO bench lathes, and fluid exchange machines from Warren Distributing.
Morrison Tire has a variety of diagnostic laptops with GM, Ford, Chrysler, Asian, and European software, as well as a Snap-on Verus. All technicians are assigned their own computer workstation with FastTrak shop management system, along with AllData, Identifix, and online training.
The shop’s best-selling ride control products include Monroe, and KYB, depending on the application, which he buys from Warren Distributing and WORLDPAC. Mevotech driveline, steering, and suspension products are also performing well.
Morrison said the shop also does a lot of tire/wheel, suspension, and accessory upgrades on pickups, SUVs, and Jeeps, noting that Rancho suspension kits and Jeep accessories are popular, which they buy from Transamerican Wholesale.
About 30 percent of the shop’s business is tire/wheel related sales and 70 percent is repair (parts/labor) sales, Morrison said.
“The mechanical repair business is never easy and vehicle technology is always changing, so we adapt.”