Professional Distributor - 38

Ruler of the rural route

How one Maryland-based dealer serves a rural audience while ensuring he
offers honesty, dependability, and integrity from his 15 years as a distributor.



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t's clear Dave Peay takes great care to attract
and retain customers, from the items he stocks
to the way he runs his business. He ensures
rural areas have access to tools, even during
the pandemic. But he hasn't always been in this
line of work. Before he made the leap into tool
distribution, he worked in construction.
Frustrated by the inability to work during
inclement weather as the head of his own construction company, he sought more stability. It was time
to make a change.
" I wanted to get back into sales, " Peay recalls of
his decision to leave construction. " My neighbor
was [selling tools] at the time, so I went on a couple
ride-alongs with them to see what the business was
about. I liked the fact that you're constantly doing
something in a different area and speaking to different people all day. "
Now, this veteran distributor has been in the
business for 15 years, spending many of them as
a Matco tool dealer before going independent. But
this is the second time he's done so - he's coming
back for round two, stronger than ever. After a twoyear respite, he returned to tool distribution, and he
hasn't looked back.
Peay is now a multi-route operator and tool
dealer with the GEARWRENCH Street Team out
of St. Mary's City, Maryland. His routes run through
St. Mary's County and Calvert County as well as
other rural areas. He runs this territory solo, with
frequent city trips to show off his wares. He's doing
quite well for himself, even during a time when
some businesses have suffered.
Peay navigates southern Maryland in his GMC
5500 TopKick with an 18' box. He plans to upgrade
to a 20' Freightliner in the near future. In addition to hand tools, fasteners, and other goodies, his
box is stocked with a variety of different electronic
scan tools. Though the customer base he serves subscribes to a more slow-paced way of living, Peay
says he and the rural community find electronic
diagnostic tools integral to automotive repair.
" You've got to have good diagnostic tools these
days, " Peay says. Though he has a wide variety of
repair tools on hand, he also makes sure to stock fun

38 Professional Distributor I February 2021 I

Dave Peay stands in front of his tool truck, ready to deliver.

items like beef jerky, energy drinks, and other items
to keep customers engaged -- and coming back.
" I've got a candy jar, which gets the guys out to
the truck most of the time, " he jokes.
" [The pandemic] kind of slowed things a little
bit this year, I think. But overall, it hasn't been a
huge blow to the industry, " Peay says. " People aren't
driving as much or needing to get the work done. "
Luckily, he notes, distributors are viewed as essential
workers, and have been able to keep working with
the customers who need tools to perform repairs.
To this enterprising independent dealer, there's
one thing that sets him apart from others in his
field: his sterling reputation.
" I'm always doing what I can to help, " Peay says.
" When new guys come into the shop, other guys tell
them I'm the guy they want to do business with. "
He imparts similar advice to would-be tool dealers looking to break into the industry: be the guy
others want to work with. He stresses the importance of remaining honest, flexible, and dependable.
There's also the matter of being responsible with
your income, which he believes is an important skill
for anyone starting in the business.
" Remember that the cash in the drawer is not
yours 'til all the bills are paid, " Peay warns. " I've seen
a lot of guys come and go. That's the best advice I
can give. "
At the end of the day, Peay loves what he does
and appreciates that this career path is the one that
feels the most fulfilling.
" This is the perfect business for me, " says Peay.
" It keeps me busy. And I have to keep busy. Otherwise, I go absolutely nuts. "

Professional Distributor

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Professional Distributor

The Past, Present, and Future of Battery Maintenance
Show Me Your Truck - Stocked to Sell
In Focus Products
Driving Sales - Safety Equipment & Personal Gear
Editor's Note - The Virtues of Mentoring
Most Wanted
Sneak Peek
Go Sell Something - Customer Relationship Marketing for the Mobile Jobber
Diagnostic Tech: Diagnostic Corner - Climate Control Systems
Tales From the Road - Ruler of the Rural Route
Professional Distributor - 1
Professional Distributor - 2
Professional Distributor - 3
Professional Distributor - Editor's Note - The Virtues of Mentoring
Professional Distributor - 5
Professional Distributor - The Past, Present, and Future of Battery Maintenance
Professional Distributor - 7
Professional Distributor - 8
Professional Distributor - 9
Professional Distributor - 10
Professional Distributor - 11
Professional Distributor - Show Me Your Truck - Stocked to Sell
Professional Distributor - 13
Professional Distributor - Most Wanted
Professional Distributor - 15
Professional Distributor - Sneak Peek
Professional Distributor - 17
Professional Distributor - 18
Professional Distributor - 19
Professional Distributor - 20
Professional Distributor - 21
Professional Distributor - Go Sell Something - Customer Relationship Marketing for the Mobile Jobber
Professional Distributor - 23
Professional Distributor - In Focus Products
Professional Distributor - 25
Professional Distributor - 26
Professional Distributor - 27
Professional Distributor - Diagnostic Tech: Diagnostic Corner - Climate Control Systems
Professional Distributor - 29
Professional Distributor - 30
Professional Distributor - 31
Professional Distributor - Driving Sales - Safety Equipment & Personal Gear
Professional Distributor - 33
Professional Distributor - 34
Professional Distributor - 35
Professional Distributor - 36
Professional Distributor - 37
Professional Distributor - Tales From the Road - Ruler of the Rural Route
Professional Distributor - 39
Professional Distributor - 40