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JAX Tyres Maitland is top of its class in customer service

Kate Foley & Matthew Pyle, JAX Tyres Maitland

Build trust and provide quality work and your customers will keep coming back.

That's the view of Matthew Pyle and partner Kate Foley, who own JAX Tyres at Maitland, in the NSW Hunter Valley, one of a chain of 70 stores operating from north Queensland to Tasmania.

The couple, who are both trained teachers, have owned the store for the last three and a half years. Matthew is now fulltime, while customers will find Kate there every afternoon, and on Saturdays, outside her regular job at Branxton Public School.

"Matt's always had an interest in cars and mechanical things and he was looking for a business to buy, for a change," says Kate.

"This was up for sale, and he and the accountant had a really close look at it and decided it was perfect."

"I wanted to be my own boss," Matt says.

"I looked around at a number of different businesses before settling on this and the JAX Tyres connection was a major part of the decision.

"That's our strength because they give us a great range of quality products and because of their buying power, they can do it at a great price and we can pass on those savings to the customer. There really is something for every budget in this range and our customers know we don't rip them off so they come back."

The couple says they are really enjoying the business, the challenges it gives them and the different people they deal with every day.

"It's good to feel that you're helping people," says Matthew.

"They come in with problems with their car's tyres or mechanical worries, and we get to solve those problems, and we really enjoy it."

The Maitland store is a busy one. Located in the car park of the local Stockland Shopping Centre, it attracts its regular customers as well as a lot of 'drop-ins'. The staff of eight includes three apprentice mechanics.

"That's probably my teacher training coming in," says Matthew.

"I love giving them the opportunity to build their skills because they are young and enthusiastic, but I also stress that it's important that they know all aspects of the business, not just what they are studying.

"People come in with all sorts of questions about their cars and our team needs to be able to answer them - and they can."

Kate says Matthew calls the shots but everyone on the team needs to be organised and flexible to cope with the demand.

"Customer service is our priority. No matter what the job is, we do it. We very rarely have to turn anyone away, no matter how short a period of time is involved to get it done.

"Convenience is one of our drawcards. With the store being in the shopping centre car park, people are coming and going all the time, and they can shop while the work is being done on their car."

Both Matthew and Kate were born and bred in the Newcastle/Hunter Valley region and love living in the area. While there is not much spare time at the moment, Matthew loves skiing and football, while Kate is heavily involved in her school's dance group and choir.

The odd spare moment is spent with each other and their family and friends and being well-known in the local area is a definite advantage, according to Matthew.

"There are other established tyre businesses around here but people know my family so they are prepared to give us a chance. Then it's up to us - they might give us a try the first time but we have to give them really good service to keep them coming back."

JAX Tyres Maitland offers a variety of mechanical services such as brakes, suspension and pink and blue slips as well as supplying and fitting the world's leading tyre brands including BFGoodrich, Bridgestone, Dunlop, Falken, Goodyear, Michelin, and Pirelli, and a wide range of top-line alloy and steel wheels.

Customers who buy two tyres and a wheel alignment from Matthew and Kate's store are eligible for membership of the JAX Tyres Gold Club Tyre Maintenance Plan which offers huge savings on new tyres, tyre maintenance and servicing as well as a range of special offers.

JAX Tyres at Maitland is open from 8am to 5pm on weekdays and 8am to midday on Saturdays. While the shopping centre is being renovated over Christmas, it will be business as usual for Matthew, Kate and the team. They're not moving.

July 2008