In what seems like the blink of an eye, summer is upon us and we’re at the midpoint of the year. It’s amazing how time flies.
As in recent years, the June issue of Counterman features our midyear distribution update, in which leaders from the major program groups reflect on their organizations’ first-half accomplishments and look ahead to second-half opportunities and challenges. It’s always interesting to get their perspectives on what they’re seeing in the marketplace, and we’re grateful that they’re willing to share their thoughts with us.
Here at Counterman and Babcox Media, summer is when we start gearing up for our busiest time of the year. The second half of the year is a steady crescendo of activity for us, culminating with the October issue (typically our biggest issue of the year), the AAPEX show in November and, of course, the Counter Professional of the Year issue in December.
The focal point of the next few months will be the Counter Professional of the Year, as we go through the process of evaluating the nominations, selecting a winner and making the arrangements to send the winner to Las Vegas for AAPEX (that’s the fun part), where we formally present the award.
A few weeks ago, while listening to AutoZone’s fiscal third-quarter conference call, I was reminded why Counterman has been recognizing a Counter Professional of the Year since 1986. During the call, CEO Bill Rhodes talked about the company’s efforts to “attract and retain high-quality talent” through recent pay increases. He also emphasized that even though a growing number of customers are shopping online, the majority are conducting research online “and then coming into the store in order to receive trustworthy advice” and take advantage of “a host of other services that simply cannot be duplicated prior to making the sale.”
“It’s imperative to remember the high-touch nature of this business, and the vital role our highly knowledgeable AutoZoners play to help our customers maintain and enhance their vehicles,” he added.
I’m not trying to single out AutoZone here. The CEO’s profound statement applies to any hard-working counter professional in any store, whether it’s a national chain or an independent mom-and-pop shop. In this day and age of Amazon, eBay and YouTube, there’s still no substitute for the real-world experience of a knowledgeable parts pro.
That’s why we still believe it’s so important to recognize the hard work and dedication of the counter pro with our Counter Professional of the Year award. It’s our way of giving credit where credit is due, and it’s always a major highlight of our year. To nominate someone – or yourself – visit www.counterman.com/cpoty. Give yourself some credit!