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JAX Tyres in Merrylands - Service Builds the Business

'Taking care of the mums and dads' is a business philosophy that pays dividends for one Sydney tyre dealer - and the 'mums and dads' who are his customers.

Andrew Raymond and his experienced staff have been looking after customers in Merrylands in Sydney's west for the last nine years.

"Most of our customers are local people and their families. Everyone is on a budget and they will shop to that budget. In a highly competitive market - which is what the tyre industry is - good customer service is what will bring them back."

Andrew is well placed to know the value of customer service to a business because he knows what makes a business tick. He's spent 20 years in the automotive industry after initially doing a Bachelor of Economics, majoring in accounting and commercial law.

"I always wanted to work in the motor industry but it wasn't until I bought a new Toyota that it began to happen. I actually asked the sales staff at the dealership how to get a job with Toyota.

"I started with a fill-in job over the Christmas holidays at Toyota's Sydney head office, but it became full-time and lasted for three years."

After Toyota, Andrew went to Hyundai, then Ultra Tune and from there to a brief stint with Inchcape Motors, which imports and distributes Subaru. That was in 1996, the year of the meeting that would determine his future.

"I met Jeff Board [CEO of JAX Tyres] through a mutual contact and he hired me as the company's marketing manager.

"I really enjoyed the job but I already knew that I wanted to work for myself. Two years later, the opportunity came up to take over the franchise at Merrylands."

Nine years down the track, Andrew says he has never regretted the decision.

"The management team at JAX Tyres is really committed to the business, to growing it. They are very honest and I like the people and the business."

In his "spare" time, Andrew indulges himself with motorsport. It's part of the reason he is self-employed: "I can't feed my habit unless I work for myself!" he laughs.

Andrew's passion for motorsport goes back to his childhood, when he spent a lot of time at race tracks with a friend's father, who was a racing driver.

Not only could he enjoy being at the track, but he made money there. As an avid amateur photographer, Andrew would spend Saturdays at the track taking photos; develop them that night and go back to the track on Sundays to sell them.

Andrew Raymond, JAX Tyres Merrylands

Once he grew up, he competed as often as possible, including racing a Mini panel van for several years. That was pensioned off recently in favour of building a PRB Clubman open-wheeler which will contest selected rounds of this year's PRB Clubman series - painted in JAX Tyres colours, of course!

"Aside from that, there is not much spare time," Andrew says.

"I have three boys, aged 11, seven and five, and with my wife Margaret back at university doing a teaching degree, I'm kept fairly busy - but that's the way I like it. Family definitely comes first."

JAX Tyres in Merrylands is part of the east coast network of 72 stores, servicing customer needs from Cairns to Tasmania.

JAX Tyres stocks the world's leading tyre brands including Bridgestone, Continental, Dunlop, Goodyear, Michelin, and Pirelli. It also carries a wide range of top-line alloy and steel wheels, as well as providing a variety of other mechanical services such as brakes and suspension.

January 2007