Customer Service a Priority at JAX Tyres Warilla
Greg Hollis says there is no great secret to building a good business - providing you remember that the customer is Number One.
"I'm constantly surprised by the attitude from a lot of people in retail that the customer is getting in the way of their day. You may be thinking it but you can't show it, if you want to keep on having a business."
Greg is the owner of the JAX Tyres Tyre store at Warilla, in Wollongong, part of a 70-store chain that stretches from Cairns to Tasmania.
Born and bred in Sydney, he moved to Wollongong in 1982 to manage the Warilla site which was then a company store under the JAX name. The opportunity to manage the store was just part of the appeal.
"Being near the beach was a big plus. Wollongong is one of the best kept secrets in Australia. You say 'Wollongong' and everyone thinks of Port Kembla and the steel works because they don't know about all the good parts."
Greg started in the tyre industry in 1973, straight from school, and ran the Warilla store from 1982-1994. Then JAX began franchising its outlets in 1994, so Greg moved from management to ownership without changing locations. Now he's relaunched under the new JAX Tyres Tyre livery.
"I really enjoy retail. For me, it's so much better than being in a cubicle in an office, seeing the same people every day. Here, it's different people all the time. They come to us with a problem and we get to solve it."
Greg says the secret to making a business work is taking care of people.
"The bottom line is that every customer should leave here with a smile on their face. You do that by talking to them, making sure you satisfy their needs, exceed their expectations. If you don't take care of people, you don't have a business."
The Warilla store has plenty of competition locally. All the big tyre names are represented, but JAX Tyres is one of the biggest.
"I think it's an advantage to have been here so long. People like to see the same face each time they come in, not a different face every 12 months. A familiar face gives them confidence, a feeling of trust and reliability."
Greg has six staff on his team, offering a variety of mechanical services such as brakes and suspension as well as supplying and fitting the world's leading tyre brands including Bridgestone, Continental, Dunlop, Goodyear, Michelin, and Pirelli, and a wide range of top-line alloy and steel wheels.
Customers who buy two tyres and a wheel alignment at Greg'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.
With such a busy business, there hasn't been much spare time over the years and most of that was spent with his wife and four children.
"They're all grown up now. I had no time for my own hobbies then because I was involved in everything they were doing.
"Parenthood is one of the most responsible jobs you can have, but there's no training or paperwork required for doing it like there is for almost everything else. You just have to do the best you can and hopefully we've done that.
The business still keeps him busy but there is now a little more spare time and it's put to good use - after all, the water is just five minutes away and he still loves to body surf.
"Otherwise I'm quite happy pottering in the garden or even just grabbing a good book, and a glass of wine or a beer, and reading for a few hours. That's really enjoyable."