Emily Buckley, editor in chief
For Christie Stock, president of Discount Tire and Automotive, safety, community, and delivering happiness have always been top priority. So, although the world and her business are certainly in unchartered territory, altering her day-to-day operations and looking for ways to help is completely natural and didn’t take a lot of second guessing.
Christie’s parents, Larry and Vickie Nicholls, founded Discount Tire in Logan in 1976, the family has since grown the business to 13 stores (three in Cache Valley, nine in Wyoming, and one in Idaho), and employs 200 people, including three generations of family.
As things started to get tough in Cache Valley in relation to the COVID-19 crisis, Christie and her sister, Billie Glabe, wanted to help.
“This is hard, but we are all in this together,” Christie said. “So, we thought about what we could do.”
Both health care workers and struggling local business owners came to mind, so Christie and Billie went to work finding ways to support both – arranging to purchase meals from local restaurants, Angie’s, Firehouse Pizzeria, and West Side Coffee Company, and bring them to frontline healthcare workers.
“The restaurant owners are so appreciative of the business and when we deliver the food, we can see that these health care workers are just exhausted,” Christie said. “They are working on the frontlines of this crisis, and then still have families too – many are being a mom or dad and teacher and are showing up each day to take care of the sick. It is a lot. If we can give back a little bit, we are happy to do it.”
Christie said they are also offering health care workers 10% off tires and free vehicle pick-up and delivery during this time of crisis. “We hope that will give them one less thing to worry about if they need tires.”
Christie said they are thankful that their business is essential and that they still have jobs and paychecks, but her crews are still feeling unease as they do their work interacting with the public. “We had our first Zoom meeting with all 200 employees [last week],” Christie said. “We wanted to let them know what to expect and how we are going to take care of them. If they are sick, they should stay home and not worry.”
They’ve also adapted the way they are interacting with customers. “We are doing things differently,” Christie said. “We’ve had to reinvent ourselves. People can now book and pay for services online. We’ve installed drop boxes so customers can leave their keys and go, and we are sanitizing the vehicles and keys when we finish our work.”
This kind of agility is not new to their business. Christie says, her father, Larry, has always been one to look for ways to stay relevant. “He travels the world, always looking at other industries – even those that have nothing to do with tires,” she said. “He looks for ways we can develop and improve. As a result, we are doing things and using technology that has never been used before.”
Christie said part of their company mission statement is to deliver happiness. “I hope we never lose sight of that,” Christie said. “We will get through this together, and I think we will all be better for it.”