- Company: Supa Quick
- Franchisee: Sharon Tattersall
- Branches: Gallo Manor and Craighall Park
- Visit: supaquick.com
The Road to Supa Quick
Once Sharon Tattersall had matriculated, she wasn’t sure what to do. Quite by coincidence, she ended up interviewing for a position at Bridgestone. She got the job and started working as an internal sales clerk.
Bridgestone turned out to be a great fit, and she ended up spending about a decade at the company. She moved on to warehousing, logistics, and eventually started working as an external sales person.
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But, by the early 2000s, she felt the itch to strike out on her own. She wanted her own business. Almost immediately, the idea of opening up a Supa Quick came to her. Supa Quick is a subsidiary of Bridgestone, so Tattersall had the experience needed to tackle the business. Supa Quick touted itself as a tyre expert, and Tattersall knew tyres.
Sitting at the Wheel
In 2006, Tattersall started as owner/operator of Supa Quick Sandown. It was, well, a bit of an adjustment. She might have had loads of industry experience, but corporate life hadn’t completely prepared her for all the other aspects of owning and operating one’s own business.
“I knew about tyres, but Supa Quick stocks a lot of other items that I didn’t know at all. I had to learn about shocks, brakes and exhausts very quickly. It was a steep learning curve,” she says.
That said, getting to know the products wasn’t the toughest challenge. The biggest adjustment was suddenly being responsible for every aspect of a business.
“When thinking of opening a business, you have to remember that you will ultimately be responsible for every aspect of that operation. You will have to manage the business’s finances and staff, keep an eye on stock levels and deal with customers. There’s tons of admin to deal with, especially in the early days of a business.
“You need to accept the fact that you’ll be spending a lot of time at the business — you’ll be eating, sleeping and breathing the business. Prepare yourself for 16-hour days,” she laughs.
Steering in the Dark
Tattersall’s situation, however, was particularly tricky. As Murphy’s Law demands, load-shedding was implemented shortly after she started operating her first Supa Quick franchise.
“We needed to buy a generator, which was obviously a sizeable investment. But there was nothing that could be done about it. We had to be able to trade even when the electricity was switched off.”
The experience taught her a valuable lesson: “I think a lot of new business owners underestimate the amount of operating capital they’ll need. This is especially true in a business such as this. You need to have cash available for an emergency, and you need to carry a sizeable amount of stock. Modern cars run on lots of different tyres, and you need to carry the different sizes and types. If you don’t have a particular tyre in stock, you’ll lose a sale to a business down the road.”
A good co-driver
Despite those inevitable initial hiccups, Tattersall found her groove and has been operating a Supa Quick ever since. When the property in Sandown was sold, she closed that operation down, and opened a Supa Quick in Gallo Manor, which has been going since 2011. In June 2015 she also opened up a Supa Quick in Craighall Park.
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“The operation in Gallo Manor is well established and I now have a manager who oversees the operation, so I’m spending most of my time at the new franchise.”
And what is it like opening up a second store?
“It’s keeping me busy, but it’s been a positive experience. As a franchisor, Supa Quick is very supportive. It offers new staff members at franchises excellent technical training, and also negotiates with suppliers on our behalf. This means that we can obtain stock at a very competitive price.”
About Supa Quick
- Supa Quick has been in existence for more than 28 years.
- The brand has the largest footprint of any fitment channel in Southern Africa.
- Franchisees boasted a combined turnover of more than R2,1 billion in 2014.
- Of the original 24 founding franchisee family members that signed up in 1986, 20 are still involved today.
- Supa Quick has collective franchisee owner experience of 2 636 years
- With 238 outlets currently operating, the brand appears set to have 288 stores open by 2020.
Advice for Rookies
Having been a successful Supa Quick franchisee for almost a decade now, what advice does Tattersall have for prospective franchisees?
“I would recommend spending as much time as possible at an existing franchise. If you can spend a whole month there, do it. Not only will you see what owning a Supa Quick entails, but you’ll also gain useful insight into operating a successful business.
“I also recommend surrounding yourself with the right people. You don’t necessarily need substantial industry knowledge, but you need to ensure that you hire the right people. Quite often, you’ll find that your success is in their hands.”