Point S L’Ancienne-Lorette: More than just tire specialists.
Patrick Robitaille, owner of Point S in L’Ancienne-Lorette, in Quebec, has climbed the ladder, step by step, to become a leader in the field of car, heavy truck, farm and recreational vehicle tires.
Having grown up on a dairy farm, he swapped his long rubber boots, overalls and hayfork for clean shoes, a jacket and tie and embarked on a career in sales.
His rise has been remarkable. In 2004, he was only employed by Service de pneus Central. The following year, thanks to his dedication and skills, he quickly proved his worth by becoming a shareholder in the same company. Ten years later, he bought the garage when the founder of Service de pneus Central, Yvon Simons, retired after having been a pillar of the industry since 1989.
Under the Robitaille administration, two major innovations were introduced. Firstly, it replaced the twenty-five year old banner with that of Point S.
“The Point S banner has a number of advantages. It allows us to benefit from a national network and to take advantage of effective advertising campaigns and marketing strategies. We also have an online sales platform that makes transactions easier. Being part of a banner that brings together several retailers also enables us to reduce operating costs, which is beneficial for our customers,” says Patrick Robitaille.
What’s more, this father of two young children has turned his passion for tires into an entrepreneurial success story. To support him in this adventure, he has reached out to two work colleagues, asking them to join him in this increasingly technological world. Mikael Gosselin and Maxim Asselin became shareholders.
Service: an absolute priority
Aware that customer service can make all the difference, Patrick and his team of around twenty employees have a single objective every time a customer walks through the door: their satisfaction.
“We strive to provide a fast and efficient service. It’s this speed that sets us apart from the competition. We never say no. We organise ourselves to respond to customer requests,” he says with conviction.
To maintain this advantage, the company offers a mobile unit service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for mechanical repairs and towing of “all vehicles that cannot be towed with a traditional tow truck. If you can get CAA-Quebec, we won’t be there. Two units are constantly on the road, ready to respond to customers’ needs, including one more specifically for emergency situations.
As part of its ongoing drive to stand out from the crowd, Patrick provides his customers with courtesy vehicles, as well as commercial vehicles tailored to their specific needs.
“We understand that time is precious for our customers. That’s why we offer courtesy vehicles equipped according to their needs. For example, we have vehicles with ladder racks on the roof, for professionals such as electricians who need to transport their equipment safely,” Robitaille explains proudly.
From mid-December to mid-March, there’s less traffic at Robitaille’s garages. “You can’t have too much downtime, because we’ve invested a lot of money in specialised equipment, and now everything is computerised. A six-year-old child would be able to move a 200-pound tire, so we no longer have to use force to change large tires,” he explains.
He points out that the job of changing an RV tire requires extra care. “It’s not a 10-wheeler that’s going to a open-pit mine, but a vehicle in which both Mr and Mrs are proud to travel. We have to be meticulous. We put on our white gloves, let’s say.”
As for inventories, Patrick Robitaille’s advice is to keep rarer tires, such as those for RVs, in stock, as they are “not easy to find sometimes”.
Choosing the right tire
After a period of sharp price rises of 20-30% for truck tires and 10% for car tires during the pandemic, prices are now more affordable.
“It’s not always necessary to opt for top-of-the-range tires. For a retired person who only drives in town and doesn’t travel outside, a Chinese brand tire may well meet their needs. On the other hand, if you regularly drive on motorways, where good tires are essential for optimum braking, or if you often travel in winter or in heavy rain, where good grip is essential, then safety becomes a priority and it’s important to be well shod”, explains the specialist.
Speaking of specialists, Patrick advises people not to turn to online shopping. “Less than 5% of people buy their tires online. It’s better to come into the branch and meet our experienced team. They’ll be able to give you the best advice.
Owner of the workshops at 1711 route de l’Aéroport and 1605 rue Pincelier in L’Ancienne-Lorette, the 40-year-old has several projects in the pipeline. A shareholder in a mechanical garage in the Quebec City area, he will soon be changing the banner to Point S, and in 2024 he will be transforming another heavy goods vehicle garage into a full-fledged Truck Centre, again under the Point S banner.