I think the natural inclination of most people is to think that a business is in trouble when it closes one of its stores, offices, or outlets. Given the times that we are in, that would be a reasonable assumption, but not always a correct one.
Recently, University Tire owner Paula Raines closed her Highway 301 South operation to focus solely on the operation of her larger, newer Northside Drive facility.
"I decided to close the 301 store so that I could combine the best staff from both locations under one roof," Raines said. "It also allowed me to have more staff to be able to handle our customers in a more timely and efficient manner."
Raines said one the added benefits of closing the other store has been her ability to stay open later at the Northside Drive location on Saturday.
"This has enabled us to extend the hours on Saturday to 6 p.m. for those customers that have to have their work done on their day off," she said. "Some of our customers travel during the week because of their job, and therefore, can only do their service on Saturdays. This makes servicing their car more convenient for them."
Raines said she has experienced some "personal" benefit from the closure.
"Of course it is much easier to be in one place than two," she said. "You always need to be present in your business to know what is going on, and of course it is good to have that contact with the customers, which is hard to do when you are trying to keep more than one location running."
Raines said the move has paid off, as sales for the remaining location have been greater than the total sales produced by both locations.
"It is all about servicing and being there for your customers," she said. "We have combined the best personnel into one location instead of dividing them up."
Raines founded the business 21 years ago.
"Our customers are very loyal and for that I am so grateful," she said. "We have seen a lot of children grow up over the last 21 years and are now servicing their vehicles as well. I like having the one store very much. It is possible that I could open up another location at some point in the future, but not very likely."
As for the Highway 301 location, "I hope to sell the property or lease it," she said.
So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.
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