In this month's issue, Counterman Associate Editor Melanie Deitch presents an in-depth look at this year's Counterperson of the Year, Jerry Ives. Ives is the 16th such honoree, and he manages a CARQUEST store just outside of Syracuse, NY. Her article, Striking a Chord, begins on page 26.
After having spent quite a bit of time with Jerry and his family at the AAPEX show in Las Vegas, I can tell you that he is a unique guy with many talents in both his professional and personal life.
In Deitch's article, she draws an interesting comparison between Jerry's success as a parts professional and his avocation for music: Both automotive technology and music are precise, exacting, mathematically based endeavors. At first blush automotive technology and music might seem worlds apart, but they're much more similar than one might think.
I'd like to add one more school subject that can be applied to the automotive industry: biology, specifically the idea of "Survival of the Fittest."
Of course, Darwin was writing about dodo birds and mastodons. But how about parts stores? Year after year, the industry hears tales of woe regarding the future of the jobber. Indeed we hear that the industry is over-stored and that store closures and consolidation will continue.
Although determining which stores disappear is an inexact science, you can bet that those that do are the weakest in their respective markets.
As we close out 2002, I put out a challenge to each store: Be the fittest, strongest store you can be. In doing so, you'll guarantee your personal success and eliminate the possibility of your store succumbing to the unfortunate fate that others have.
What differentiates a fit store from an unfit one? It's a complex combination of branding, sales and service, with the counter professional as the lynch pin that keeps it all together.
Ives is the kind of professional that most stores wish they had; the kind of person who guides his store to become one of the fittest, one of the survivors in his market. If you don't have a strong sales and service team, develop one. Make it your resolution for 2003. The rewards will be many. To ignore it means possibly relegating your store to a list that includes the dodo bird and the saber-toothed tiger.
To all Counterman readers and their families: Have a safe, prosperous and happy 2003!
I want to personally and publically congratulate Counterman Publisher Jon Owens, who recently received two prestigious industry awards during the recent Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week in Las Vegas. Jon was presented the Northwood University Automotive Aftermarket Education Award and the AWDA Pursuit of Excellence Award. Congrats, Jon!