Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Blog Post 1
I decided to interview my grandfather Richard Mcpherson an entrepreneur in the tire business in 1981. Growing up in Stockton with a family that promoted working hard for a living will get you far, he started as a tire man just before graduating High school. He bought the company name South Bay tire in Stockton CA. along with the property the company had started at. He faced many struggles that he had to overcome. During his retirement he's been able to enjoy his time with his family and passion for rebuilding classic cars.
1How did you get started in this field? What was your educational background? What are your major responsibilities?
In 1959 I worked for Montgomery wards as a tire changer and a seat changer for 2 years. I then became a service manager from 1961- 1964. After hearing how Sako tire was doing i decided that i wanted to work for Chris Percedus (spelling), but that only lasted for about a year and a half. My partner and I decided to opened a tire shop on main street in 1967. After a year and a half in business i decided to sell my partner my part of the company. I decided to return to Montgomery Wards as an outside salesman from 1968- 1978. There was a lot of talk about Doherty tire starting up a forklift shop. I was able to work fo Doherty tire for 3 yrs until they weren't able to make ends meet. South bay tire decided to open up the shop and hired me along with them. After being 6 months in business the pay roll was to high and wasn’t making it. I decided to take over the company in 1981-2003. I bought the property from the Hope Brothers payed it off in about 10 years. Out front of my tire shop I rented out the gas station to a company called CFN.
How did you choose your location?
Montgomery awards, Doherty and South Bay tire were all in the same location, off the 99 freeway on charter way. Being in that location for so long i was able to meet a lot of customers were i was able to build a strong foundation that would eventually last until my retirement. I was also surrounded by major tractor companies, when their customers needed parts they would also stop in get new tires on occasions.
Were you scared of opening up the shop in the same location? Did you have a new strategy than the other tire companies in that location? Why do you think you made it compared to the other companies in that same location that didn’t?
The customers at Dicks South Bay Tier were the same customers I been doing business with since 1959. I called my customers everyday to make sure they were satisfied and if their was anything else I could help them with. No I didn't feel like I had a different plan or strategy than the other tire companies. I made it because I didn’t need much help, I didn’t need salesmen because I knew all my customers for 20-30 years and was able to make new ones along the way. I was also in a prime location, farmers would dropped off tires or tractors in the am and I was able to fix the problem by the end of the day for the most part. I mentioned before how I was surrounded by all types of tractor companies, the farmers that would come into town for parts, would occasionally stop in for quotes. Those farmers and tuckers coming off the 99 freeway was how i was able to gain new customers. I did Off road tires, repairing truck tires, tractors, and also went out for service calls.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job, least rewarding? Would you choose this career again?
The most rewarding aspect of my job was that it was my way to make a living. Dick’s South Bay Tire got me through life and getting me through retirement. I cant say anything was least rewarding because it was work,maybe the fact that I only had Sundays off and had 6 1-week vacations in 21 years of business. Healthy or sick I was at the shop working. In business you have to work, you can’t just trust someone look over the company for you. Being a business owner you have to be there everyday day in and day out. The busy time for me was during tomato season farms working all night long and i would have to go on service calls between the hours of 2 am- 4 am sometimes and this would happen more than once during the year. I didn’t mind my career and I would do it all over again if i had to because in the end it payed off.
What was a “typical” day like for you?
A typical work day would be opening the shop up at 6:30 am and the phones would start ringing and customers coming in. During my lunch break I would eat in my office everyday and sometimes even eat a late lunch because I was so busy. We would typically close up shop at 5:00 pm unless we had work that needed to be finished for our customer.
What obligations does your work put on you outside of the actual job? What are some lifestyle considerations for this career?
Take care of business you have to be their day in and day out. A business is something that you have to take care of. Some owner may have the freedom to get away with not having to be involved as much such as large corporations, but as a small company business owner only having a maximum of 4 employees and a minimum of 2 employees at times I couldn’t get away with it. I had to be their to guide and manage them.
What kind of an individual (skills and personality) is best suited for a entry level position? What are the most important factors used when hiring?
The skillset i looked for in an employee was if they can change tires, if they couldn’t I had to train them. As long as they came into work everyday on time, did their job efficiently, and good to customers then they were a great asset to the company. The #1 factor when hiring was that they had to be good to customers, because customers pay the way.
What have you found to be a major weakness of new hires in this field?
A major weakness that i found in some of the employees that i had hired were some of them couldn’t catch on, they couldn’t change tires or they were to slow and inefficient.
What is the future outlook for this career? What are the areas of potential growth and decline? How do you see jobs changing in the future?
The future for tire companies are being taken over by big corporations coming in and also doing wheel alignments, brakes, and mechanical work. The effect on this is more labor therefore more income. Companies cant make money on tires anymore it’s too competitive. For example a wheel alignment only takes about 15 minutes to do but takes a company to do the job in a hr as well as finding minor parts that need to be replaced. These corporations are making more money on parts and labor than they do on tires. In Order for me to do this or to compete with these corporation more employees are needed.
Can you recommend other types of organizations in this field that I might investigate or contact? Can you recommend any specific person for me to talk with and may I have permission to use your name?
1Brandon tire has 2 locations in stockton and they have been in business longer than I have. Brandon started out sweeping the floors at the age of 16 for Doherty tire. Around 1980 i believe he started his own business. Wilson Way tire started 1941 and has a few shops around the state about 5 or 6 in total different name same owner, Madiolly (spelling).