29th October 2019

First Stop welcomes Mark Widdows to retail manager role

First Stop is celebrating a major coup after attracting a highly respected figure from the fast fit industry to head-up its UK Retail Network Manager role.

Mark Widdows has been recruited to the senior position after working with Goodyear Dunlop for 20 years, where he latterly served as National Franchise Manager for the HiQ network.

The recruitment is seen as a statement of intent, as First Stop aims to grow its network and position itself as a major player in the fast fit sector.

Mark said: “This is a great opportunity and one that I am excited to take. The main priority for me is to grow and develop the First Stop network and create a bigger channel for Bridgestone and its portfolio of premium products.

“We want to attract quality partners to the network who share our enthusiasm and passion and I can’t wait to get to work.”

Mark has 36 years’ experience in the automotive industry and has held a broad range of positions during that time, including tyre fitter, mechanic, store manager, franchise manager, acting retail director and most recently, national franchise manager.

Mark added: “To be able to work closely with the world’s largest tyre manufacturer had a huge appeal, with Bridgestone’s range of premium consumer tyres amongst the very best in the industry.”

First Stop’s Partner Manager Audrey Leonard said: “We are thrilled to welcome Mark to the team. He brings vast experience to the role and has already outlined an exciting vision for the First Stop network.

“He has recorded a number of impressive achievements in the fast fit industry in recent times and his skills are perfectly suited to the role, and where we want to get to as a network overall.”

Part Worn

Trading Standards highlights part worn tyre issues

25th October 2019

Suffolk Trading Standards has warned consumers to be cautious when purchasing part worn tyres for their vehicles. The warning follows several test purchases in Suffolk that “raised concerns.”

An independent expert was asked to assess tyres purchased from six dealers in Suffolk that sell and fit part worn tyres. The expert noted that all suppliers contravened regulations by not having the required ‘part worn’ marking on the sidewall. He also raised a number of other concerns about the age and condition of some tyres.

“A part worn tyre is essentially a second hand tyre,” comments Nousha Meek, senior Trading Standards officer. “They are an attractive option for motorists as they are often much cheaper than buying a brand-new tyre. This practice is perfectly acceptable, however, we carried out this project to check that dealers are providing safe tyres to the public.

“None of the tested tyres carried the required markings, which immediately contravenes regulations as set out in The Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994. Many tyre manufacturers recommend that tyres have a maximum life of ten years, even if they look like they’re in good condition. Half of the tyres we had purchased were older than this, in one case a tyre was 14 years old.” It should be noted that some manufacturers recommend keeping a close eye on your tyres once they reach five years of age. Some recommend considering replacing tyres after seven years.

Other concerns raised by the expert included a tyre with a substantial cut in its sidewall, one with debris embedded and another with cracking of the rubber due to age and poor storage. In one case a vehicle was fitted with a part worn winter tyre that didn’t match the other three tyres already fitted to the vehicle. Suffolk Trading Standards points out that mixing seasonal and standard tyres can “upset the stability” of a car.

“Although these examples do not contravene regulations, dealers and customers should be aware of their potential dangers,” adds Trading Standards.

Councillor Richard Rout, cabinet member for Environment and Public Protection at Suffolk County Council, said: “Our Trading Standards officers have now contacted all the dealers and advised them of their responsibilities and obligations for selling part worn tyres. We carry out these test purchases and checks so that Suffolk residents can shop with confidence and be safe.”

John Atkin

Buckley Tyre Service delivers an NTDA double for First Stop

4th October 2019

It wasn’t just Bridgestone who were smiling at the NTDA Awards, with First Stop celebrating a unique double of their own.

Buckley Tyre Service made a pit stop to the ICC in Birmingham to seal a deserved one-two in the tyre retail sector.

Not only did the Flintshire garage win the Small Retailer of the Year trophy, but it went on to seal the Overall Retailer of the Year gong as well, to cap an incredible night for owner John Atkin and his team.

The NTDA’s Chief Executive Stefan Hay said: “The NTDA Tyre Retailer of the Year Award is always fiercely contested by our excellent tyre distributor members. The judges were very impressed by the Buckley Tyre Service entry which they felt had ‘Star Quality’. The extremely well researched and presented entry was supported by wonderful testimonials from employees, many of whom have been with the business for decades and numerous glowing testimonials from both customers and suppliers. The NTDA is delighted for John Atkin and his team and very pleased to have an independent tyre distributor of Buckley Tyre Service’s calibre as a member.”