The First Stop tyre service network has signed up as an official supporter of TyreSafe. Commenting on the decision to lend its support to the tyre safety organisation, First Stop partner zone manager Mike Glover said: “By becoming an official supporter TyreSafe, we can now accelerate our safety awareness among those customers through the use of the organisation’s extensive library of materials and assets.”
Bridgestone Europe reports the departure of the managing director of its First Stop business in the German-speaking ‘DACH’ markets and Eastern Europe, Dr. Urban Uttenweiler. According to a statement released by Bridgestone, Uttenweiler has “decided to take on a new role outside the Bridgestone organisation.”
First Stop has acquired the services of a new retail business consultant from the fast fit industry. A former retail business manager, and Blackcircles.com area network manager, Dave Hull will play a key role in the company’s attempts to expand, while also stimulating sales from existing First Stop partners, the network stated.
First Stop’s 76 branches will join a list of female-friendly garages, accident repairers and car dealers when it is accepted onto the Foxy Lady Approved Tyre Services Register. The Register identifies businesses that meet the female drivers club’s quality standards. Each member of the list has signed a Foxy Lady Promise to “never overcharge, patronise or sell women services they don’t need.” The new tyre-based register, “monitored by regular female feedback” like Foxy Lady’s other automotive industry registers, was started to build upon the club’s TyreSafe Online and Social Media Award in 2014, which recognised its work in promoting tyre safety using its Twitter and Facebook pages. The club is also a TyreSafe member.
One of First Stop’s most valued garages has gone the extra mile for the local community, courtesy of a new emergency 4×4 vehicle worth £30,000. Risboro Garage, based in Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire has donated a Honda CRV 4×4 for the Risborough Community First Responders (CFR) team following months of fundraising.
Bridgestone’s First Stop network is currently made up of 53 independent member partners, an increase of around 14 in the last 14 months. When you consider that there are a further 16 Kingsway-branded Bridgestone equity-owned branches, this brings the total to 69 and together these two facts suggest that First Stop is currently enjoying a period of growth. Put this figure in the context of the last five years, which weren’t always plain sailing for the retail chain, and you could even describe this growth as a resurgence. With this in mind, Tyres & Accessories spoke with Bridgestone Europe retail business development manager Stuart Eagland.
UK fast fit network First Stop has begun its 2015 investment programme with a facelift for its Halesowen centre. The 52 centre network has announced new locations and significant investment expected this year, with the re-launched, new-look garage on Overend Road the first to benefit from substantial investment. The centre boasts improved branding and equipment as a result of the renovation, with three other members – Horndean Tyres, Ashton Tyres & Exhausts and Thorntons Tyres – joining Halesowen in the early stages of the planned investment.
The First Stop network began with the opening of two service centres in the UK in 1994, and over the following two decades grew into a pan-European retail chain boasting almost 2,000 outlets in 25 countries. On its website, First Stop says this “success story continues”, however in one market the network’s presence may soon suffer a hefty setback. Our German sister magazine Neue Reifenzeitung reports that First Stop has commenced a restructuring and consolidation programme in Germany, and in a worst case scenario this could lead to the closure of up to 21 Bridgestone-owned First Stop centres in the country – out of a total of 64 – before the end of this year. This potential slashing of numbers follows the closure of five outlets in 2013. Neue Reifenzeitung notes that at present no concrete plans regarding branch closures have been announced, and it is not yet clear which 21 of the 64 outlets are threatened.