Tom May didn’t plan to be in the aftermarket… he just answered a newspaper ad in 1980 for a stock clerk with a regional automotive and industrial supplier.
Then May started answering the counter phones which involved commercial, industrial and automotive parts. He worked on the counter, did part-time industrial sales, part-time purchasing leading to full-time purchasing, full-time sales, then managed the parts counter. He received an opportunity in 1987 to manage a NAPA corporate store.
May managed that particular NAPA Proline store for 14 years, then NAPA offered to sell it to him in 2002. “So I purchased my first store here in St. John, New Brunswick… a positive experience all the way through,” May states. In 2011, NAPA sold May another corporate store in the Fredericton market. Tom just sold that store to Justin Bennett, who was manager there when he took it over.
“Buying my own store was a big turning point in my life, and was the right decision. Another significant moment was buying the second store. Then selling that store and beginning my exit strategy for in about a year and a half, I’ll be selling this store … again to my manager, Tom Parsons!”
Current Chair AIA Atlantic Division
May currently is AIA Chair, Atlantic Division and been active in AIA for about 10 years. The Division has two events coming up in August directed specifically to the ASP.
“We have a great board now,” May comments, “we’ve attracted some good people to help us… people from NAPA, CARQUEST and Uni-Select are actively serving on it plus several other key individuals from the industry. We all realize we’re trying to re-invent AIA in our area—I believed we needed a national uniform message to align with, an identity so people know who we are!”
Regarding Division events, May tells us that a golf tournament is not inclusive enough… “So many don’t come out to it—we have to determine what we can do to attract more people to participate and doesn’t eliminate anyone. We want to make sure people will look forward to our events.
Why get involved
“I’m involved with AIA because I’ve watched the ASPs suffer… working 12-14 hr days for too long. I want to find a way for them to become more of a cohesive association—we need to improve the public’s perception of professionalism in the ASP sector. We have many small shops busy doing their own thing and don’t have much contact with others in the industry. I really want them all to come into the same room to talk amongst themselves. During shop management training, we made great bounds in forming relationships with ASPS—I’d like to see that continue.
“We also need to re-engage the jobbers. Others have become the main force of AIA—we need to get back the jobbers! We made a proposal at the AIA national level that for a year we dedicate ourselves to re-engage the jobbers. We need them to get us to the ASPs,” Tom says sincerely.
I believe Tom May has made an excellent proposal and he is indeed striving to carry this out for the ASP. It only takes one person to start it—hopefully it will escalate from there and these ideas spread across Canada!