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OK Tire, Quinte West: Stepping Up To Change

Autosphere » Tires » OK Tire, Quinte West: Stepping Up To Change
The expanded OK Tire in Quinte West has eight bays. Photo OK Tire

National presence offers advantages.

In the 30 years that Mike Workman has owned a tire shop in Quinte West, he’s seen a lot of changes.

In fact, he made one of the changes himself, by joining OK Tire 10 years ago. “OK Tire has a name across the country and I can network with other stores,” explains Workman. He also appreciates being part of a national presence, and the significant buying power that OK Tire provides. 

Workman has invested in his store, expanding his work space from six bays to eight. The customer waiting area was also freshened up with a facelift, and although it took the better part of a year, the end result was well worth it. 

Inside, the customer waiting area has gotten a makeover. Photo OK Tire

Loyal customers and staff

What makes a shop thrive for 30 years? Workman gives credit equally to his hard-working staff and loyal customers. “Without customers, where would we be?” he asks. “Without staff to make it work, nothing happens. I’m very fortunate to have both of these.” 

Some employees have been with Workman for many years, and one tire technician has been on staff for 17 years. He’d like to hire more technicians but finds it hard to find reliable people. “All the trades are suffering,” Workman notes. “We offer a competitive wage, a good work environment and look after our people but it’s difficult to get people.”

He’s noticed a change in the types of vehicles coming through his doors. The shop is located in a rural area that was mostly farms, and once, the clientele stuck to domestic brands such as Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. Now, as the area is building up and more people are coming in, there’s a cross-section of everything, from BMW, Audi, and Volkswagen to Hyundai and Kia. 

Workman has even done some work on hybrids and electric vehicles such as Tesla. It’s mostly tires but he’s also done brake repair. “I see a large increase, there’s more coming in all the time,” he reports.

Mike Workman, Owner, OK Tire Quinte West. Photo OK Tire

Training

That’s why one of his techs is heading out to Halifax to take a course about working on electric vehicles. He tries to do as much training as he can. “It’s a mix of shop time for certain things but then there are after-work courses,” Workman describes. 

There’s also the need to continuously update equipment, to keep up with the times. “It’s an ongoing circle,” he notes. “If you don’t upgrade, you can fall behind.” A recent purchase was a SnapOn EEAC air conditioning machine and some Autel scanners. And of course, tire equipment is constantly being enhanced and upgraded.

Although there were some problems with parts shortages, Workman believes it’s starting to correct itself. “For a while, getting some parts was an issue,” he says. “We widened our range of suppliers to try and make it better.”

Workman’s shop offers a variety of mechanical services across the board, and that includes storing his customers’ tires. He uses Sea Cans in a separate storage facility, to keep them dry and clean. With Tire Storage Solutions software, his shop can keep track of all the tire locations. “They’re all barcoded,” Workman explains.”We have a scanner, we can scan a tire any time and tell whose it is, the location of the vehicle, anything.”

At the shop, the ProTractor operating system takes care of scheduling, estimating, monitoring and other processes to keep everything running smoothly.

Twice a year, the shop races school buses at the local speedway. Photo OK Tire

School bus races

Being in a small community means Workman takes part in many local events. He sponsors a couple of local soccer teams, a local car show in Trenton, and Applefest in Brighton. “We try to be involved in as many of those things as we can.”

And then there’s the school bus race, which takes place twice a year on the Brighton Speedway. “There were 17 school buses, and there are five of us from the shop that drive,” describes Workman. As might be expected, the buses are somewhat modified for the race. 

“They’re actually pretty fast,” he chuckles. “We do 55 miles per hour around the track.” Apparently, the track gets pretty full with all the buses, and it’s a challenge just to get through. Workman has been racing buses now for 20 years, and says there’s no secret to winning. “Luck!” he quips. Workman has only won once but is determined to win some more. “It takes up a lot of our time, but it’s a lot of fun.”

Additionally, it’s a good way to keep in touch with his customers. “It’s a big group, and we like to get together.”

 

Categories : Editorial, Tires
Tags : Management, OK Tire

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