SEMA NEWS: LTAA DEALER SPOTLIGHTFebruary 22, 2011
A.R.E. INTRODUCES NEW L.E.D. LIGHT OPTIONS
TERRY’S TOPPERS ACCESSORY CENTER
Terry’sToppers Accessory Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, has been in business since 1981, specializing in commercial, fleet and personal vehicle accessories. Its 3,500-sq.-ft. warehouse is stocked with frequently requested items, and it has access to thousands of products on a one- to three-day delivery basis. It is a family-owned business with four employees that have a combined total of more than 50 years of experience.
Why are you a member of LTAA?
The LTAA develops effective strategies and programs that cater to the needs of the truck-cap industry. It is vital to be on top of what is going on in the industry, and being an LTAA member helps make that possible.
How was business in 2008 compared to 2007?
In 2008, we sold more products to companies that were downsizing or changing their business strategies. The retail customer, which previously represented a higher percentage of sales, became the minority. Our focus was on streamlining expenses and staying aware of market changes. Election years are usually different in and of themselves. Partner that with everything else going on, and 2008 was a challenge.
What product lines are you having success with?
We sell A.R.E. fiberglass truck caps and tonneau covers exclusively. A.R.E. also makes a great deluxe commercial unit, or DCU, for the contractor and service industry, and it was very popular in 2008. The most successful products were the “necessary” products–step bars, bed protectors, floor mats, hitches, toolboxes, van shelving and ladder racks.
What did you learn in 2008 that will help in 2009?
Customer service is still the most valuable commodity a company has to offer. You can’t sit back and wait for the customer to come to you; be proactive, and let them know you want their business. Look for bargains and opportunities. Run a lean operation and have everyone involved be aware of what things cost. Eliminating waste saves the company money and ensures your survival. Don’t give up, have a sense of humor and enjoy what you do. There will always be vehicles that need aftermarket accessories.
What new products or services are you carrying/offering this year that you have not carried in the past?
The Fibrobec SpaceKap is the latest heavyduty truck cap to be introduced to the commercial and fleet-vehicle marketplace. We recently added the A.R.E. ActionKover to our tonneau cover selection, and we are now offering detailing and graphics applications.
What is your projection for business in 2009?
We hope to grow our export business in 2009. We will actively pursue the commercial and fleet customer as well as city and county business. Retail customers are still our best friends, returning to us for their aftermarket needs and telling others about us. As long as we can adapt, we will grow.
What advice do you have for people who want to get into the truck accessory business?
Don’t over-extend yourself. Getting too big too fast will be your demise. If you love vehicles and are willing to put in time, money and effort to grow your business, you will be successful. Make sure your employees have that same zeal for the business and will go the extra mile. Quality, price and customer satisfaction will allow you to make a good living for as long as you want. You are only as good as your last install, and you want the customers coming back to you again and again.