Work in Progress. Kenwood Tire 3.0
Kenneth Wood started Kenwood Tire in 1963. when he bought the West Bridgewater Town Library. The library, formally a schoolhouse built around 1860, was going to be demolished to make way for a new high school.
Ken offered the town $1 to take it off their hands, and they accepted because It would cost much more for them to demolish the old building.
He bought some land nearby and then in December 1963, moved the building to set up shop.
When I arrived on the scene in 1993 and started working at the shop, we changed truck tires in freezer suits because there was no heat, and communication between the service bays and the counter was done by hitting the metal support column underneath with a wrench — twice to signal that the vehicle was done., three times to ask for help.
Invoices were hand-written with carbon paper, credit cards swiped with a knuckle-buster imprinter, tire inventory was managed with stock cards that Uncle Harry maintained.
For 35+ years, Kenwood Tire was one of the few tire shops around and no one knew more about tires than Ken Wood.
Life was good 🙂
The internet changed everything about the tire business.
I got my first AOL CD in the mail and searched Ask Jeeves for “tires”, I realized we had to change,
A company called Tire Rack from South Bend, Indiana. Tire Rack cataloged, rated, and priced just about every tire.
The information was there anyone with a dial-up internet connection to see, and the price of a P205/75R14 Michelin whitewall was benchmarked.
Tire Rack took credit cards over the phone and shipped tires, tax-fee” to “recommended installers” like us.
It was a wake-up call.
I shifted focus to more automotive services like brakes, suspension, and scheduled maintenance. Added opening hours and employees.
But I saw the possibilities of the internet — I created kenwoodtire.com with Microsoft Expression and loved that I could provide customers with useful content for free. I added a customer retention program that sent email service reminders instead of postcards.
Kenwood Tire 2.0
Social media changed the way customers see service businesses.
It is expected that they do what they say and say and what they do — to admit mistakes when they happen and make things right.
From my first Google review in 2007, I’ve never lost sight of the power of the customer experience, in-store and online — I believe in making a customer feel comfortable with their purchase, making it easy for them to do business with me.
Review sites are Kenwood Tire’s competitive advantage and most powerful marketing tool today.
Covid-19 highlighted Kenwood Tire’s biggest asset — the employees — their loyalty is humbling and it’s taken a pandemic for me to truly appreciate them.
Covid-19 forced me to re-evaluate my expectations and purpose. I discovered that it’s not all about profits, goals, and being open 55 hours a week, but about focusing less on the things I can’t control, like Tire Rack, car dealers, chain stores, and even Town Fair Tire.
Today I’m focusing more on the things I can control, like providing world-class service and a great place to work.
Kenwood Tire 3.0 is about happier employees, improved efficiency, and quality work.
If you haven’t been to Kenwood Tire lately, here’s what’s changed.
- We are open 8-4 Monday thru Friday – no more Saturdays!
- We dropped some non-essential services like check engine light diagnosis and specialized in what we know –tires, alignments, brakes, and oil changes.
- We take a week off in August for vacation.
Kenwood Tire 3.0 is here to stay and I will never lose sight of the customer experience!
Thanks for visiting.
Find out more about me here and connect with Kenwood Tire 3.0 us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.