When Gary Wright began selling Goodyear truck tires at a Sinclair truck stop along U.S. Interstate 80 in Lexington, Neb., he started with a simple premise: develop a relationship and a sense of trust among customers, and they will trust him with all of their tire needs.
In practice, Gary's premise has become a reality.
"Many of Gary's first customers were owner-operators, small companies or farmers with a couple of trucks or small fleets of five or six trucks," said Nick Phillippi, general manager of Nebraskaland Tire Co. "Today, with 36 commercial and retail locations across four states — Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, we still serve many of the same type of customers Gary first served. These are people who don't have the time to do research on what's the best type of tire for their operations.
"They rely on us being the supplier to keep them abreast on the latest in tire technology, such as Goodyear's Fuel Max Technology or DuraSeal Technology, or to keep a mounted tire program for them, or to check on the tires to make sure they're getting good wear per 1/32-inch of tread depth," Phillippi said.
It is this sense of responsibility and commitment to service that has helped Nebraskaland Tire Co. earn designation as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company's Commercial Tire Dealer of the Month for April 2010. Nebraskaland Tire Co. is part of the Nebraskaland/Kansasland/Coloradoland Tire Group.
Each month, Goodyear honors its top dealers that provide customers outstanding service, while helping them choose from among the Goodyear, Dunlop and Kelly tire brands. The dealer of the month honor recognizes Nebraskaland for helping customers make full use of Goodyear services, such as fleetHQ, TVTRACK and GTRACS automated retread tracking system. The honor also recognizes Nebraskaland's work in keeping area Goodyear dealers well-stocked with tires, because it also serves as a wholesale distributor with six distribution centers.
"Everyone in the family and our 300 employees are very pleased Goodyear has named Nebraskaland Tire Co. as its commercial tire dealer of the month," said Carson Wright, vice president of sales for Nebraskaland/Kansasland/Coloradoland Tire Group and one of Gary's sons.
At the age of 12, Carson began working at the family's tire centers after school, sweeping floors, maintaining signs and stacking mounted tires. By the time he graduated from college at the University of Nebraska in 1998, Carson said he worked in every facet of the company. He and his brother-in-law, Scott Samway, who is chief financial officer, manage day-to-day operations and provide guidance to Gary, who still serves as president and CEO. However, Carson and Scott defer many operational decisions and report to the company's general manager, Nick Phillippi, who's been with the company for nearly 20 years. Carson's younger brother, Travis Wright, who has a law degree and has been practicing in the private sector for the last five years, is working temporarily on company legal matters. Though Travis is anxious to get back into the business of selling tires, Carson added.
"Our father instilled in all of us a sense that we need to be fair and honest with everyone," he said. "It's a good feeling to know that by staying true to those values of honesty, integrity and hard work, our company has enjoyed success and also the appreciation of Goodyear and our customers."
Since 1971, Nebraskaland Tire has grown from its humble beginnings in the Lexington area to a major tire dealership with multiple locations. It operates a fleet of 61 service trucks, which make frequent visits to customers, including farms, small trucking firms and owner-operators, delivering mounted tires and offering tire inspections, air pressure checks and scrap tire analysis.
"Often, farmers cannot get their equipment to our locations for tire servicing and still get their crops planted or harvested in time," Phillippi said. "That's why many of our customers rely on our remote service visits to keep their equipment rolling."
Nebraskaland Tire also operates two retreading plants, and produces 140 tires per day at both locations using the Goodyear Precure and UniCircle retread processes. Because the company has quality control measures at both retread facilities, it maintains a high acceptance rate among customers.
"Nebraskaland Tire has developed a strong relationship with customers, making them willing to listen to our recommendations and to try Goodyear's products and services, including Goodyear Precure and UniCircle retreads," Phillippi said. "By manufacturing retreaded tires with proper quality controls, we have been able to provide our customers a cradle-to-grave tire product and service package that helps them get the most value out of their tire casings."
Nebraskaland Tire was also an early adopter of fleet HQ, Goodyear's portfolio of business solutions for commercial fleets that includes an emergency roadside assistance program. With fleetHQ, Nebraskaland customers have one number: 866-fleetHQ (866-353-3847), to call for emergency roadside tire service throughout the United States and Canada. And customers pay the same tire price on the road that they pay at home.
"With fleetHQ, our customers get the benefit of paying one price for their tires regardless whether they bought them from us or out on the road," Phillippi added. "Plus, their after-hour calls get relayed to a customer service center with representatives who understand tires and the needs of our customers to get back on the road quickly."