Canadian Retailer - Spring 2012 - (Page 18)

RCC: LEADERS' PERSPECTIVES SHARED LEADERSHIP AT FOUNTAIN TIRE: IT’S HOW THEY ROLL BY SEAN C. TARRY T he needs and preferences of the Canadian consumer are constantly changing. Though technological advancement continues to provide today’s consumer with increased convenience and options through the proliferation of social media, mobile use and ever-populating content on the Web, there also seems to be a heightened need for a more personalized and enhanced customer experience. Canadian Retailer magazine had the opportunity to speak to Brent Hesje, CEO of Fountain Tire – the proud Canadian tire dealer with its head office in Edmonton and 140 locations across the country – about his career in retail, the value behind the company’s 50-50 revenue sharing model and the importance of engagement, passion and care to create ambassadors for the brand and longevity for the business. RCC: How did you get your start in retail? BH: Directly after I graduated from the University of Saskatchewan I got a job as a sales representative with Proctor & Gamble which immersed me immediately in the retail trade, but as a supplier, not a retailer. I can remember marveling at the responsibility and scope that someone running a grocery store was responsible for, not only in terms of the magnitude of the volume but the razor thin margins and all the different things going on in the course of the day. I was very much in awe of my customers and their responsibilities. I also saw firsthand how some retailers thought that it was the supplier’s responsibility to keep them competitive. And I also saw that there were others who knew that the market was changing and who started to build positive relationships with suppliers. Those retailers are still around and thriving today. That had a big impact on me – something that I still think about - the power of building positive relationships with suppliers. What makes a great retail leader? BH: I believe that a leader is not only constantly growing more leaders within an organization, but their own capacity as well. If your organization has more capacity to lead, then you as a leader become stronger. Leaders look at change, internal and external, as opportunities to refocus the organization on areas for improvement. And, of course, there’s the constant battle to do what you think is the right thing – not just at work, but in every facet of your life. People are looking to see that you’re trying to do the right thing. And, perhaps most importantly, the way you react when a mistake is made creates dissenters or followers, and the same is true with customer retention. What’s the most important aspect of the culture that’s been created at Fountain Tire? BH: The way we’re structured. Each of our stores is a separate company – the corporate entity owns 50 per cent and the store manager owns 50 per cent. We make it quite affordable to be owners. We’ve been doing this since 1956. And, the only way we’ll continue to do it is to continue at- ABOUT BRENT HESJE • Joined Fountain Tire in 1992 as the company’s Marketing Manager • Became an Owner and Vice-President of Marketing in 1994 • Appointed CEO of the company in 2005 • Prior to joining Fountain Tire, he spent seven years in sales management and merchandising positions throughout Canada with Procter & Gamble where he was responsible for the company’s western region • He is a past chair of the Western Canada Tire Dealers; a board member of the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council; and a board member and past chairman for The Support Network, an organization that provides 24-hour distress line support to greater Edmonton 18 | canadian retailer | spring 2012 |

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Retailer - Spring 2012

Publisher's Desk
Shop Talk
Store 2012 - The Power of Engagement
Director's Message
Shared Leadership at Fountain Tire: It's How They Roll
Technology Enabling an Enhanced Customer Experience Across Multiple Channels
Retailer's Guide
Continuing to Grow and Succeed....Independently
Canadian Retailers: Evolving with the Times...and their customers
EasyHome: A Forward Regression
Advertiser's Index
Retail by the Numbers

Canadian Retailer - Spring 2012