Moran Stores That Have Thrived During the Pandemic
During the COVID-19 outbreak, many businesses have closed their doors permanently, while others closed temporarily. Many of the latter, now operating again, are just happy to squeak by on a vastly reduced percentage of their typical revenue.
Total shutdowns for a time kept consumers sheltering in place, and even with limited reopening in many cities, business traffic is often lower than usual.
But thanks to their ingenuity and ability to be nimble and change practices in the face of challenges, several franchisees in the Moran Family of Brands actually have seen an increase in business during this span. Whether through creative discounts, offering new services, or garnering customer goodwill, these businesses stand out for their profitability during a time when many others are trying to keep their heads above water.
HeRe are just a few examples of stores in the Moran system who were able to increase their revenues over the past several months.
Alta Mere — Oklahoma City
Like many non-essential businesses, Greg Goodman’s Alta Mere store in Oklahoma City was forced to close over a four-week period from March 26 until it reopened on April 28.
“Our number one concern during this time wasn’t providing window tint, it was providing the paychecks that our people need,” said Center Manager Chandler Goodman.
Despite being closed for all but three days in April, the store sold 250 window tint orders and increased sales by more than $10,000 over the previous April. They achieved this by offering a 30 percent discount for online orders during the month. The store fulfilled the orders when it reopened, and the rush of sales created a two-week backlog for new orders in May.
“We thought of it as a convenience,” Chandler Goodman said. “If they can shop from the comfort of their own home and not feel any pressure, that’s a more enjoyable experience.”
Chandler Goodman said the ownership team has learned from the experience.
“Don’t be afraid to change the way you’re doing things,” he said. “You may be doing things right, but that doesn’t mean you can’t refine and improve upon it.”
Mr. Transmission — Jackson
The Mr. Transmission store in Jackson set a four-week record in March and a five-week record in April for sales. Before even making any changes to weather the shutdown, the shop was primed for endurance.
“I think a big part what helped us remain strong is a television commercial we have run locally for the past five years that has positioned our store well among customers,” said franchisee Jay Pond.
The ad features a customer who talked about how the shop was able to help her with financing on her car repair.
From that strong foundation, Pond and his crew made changes during the outbreak, such as offering free pickup and delivery for all vehicles in need of repair during the first few weeks of shutdown in March.
Mr. Transmission/Milex — Oklahoma City
While some auto repair businesses chose to close temporarily during the outbreak, Roman Combs’s Mr. Transmission/Milex shop in Oklahoma City remained open as an essential retailer. The store saw its sales increase 40 percent in March from the previous year and 78 percent this April compared to April 2020.
“We did not have to cut back on employees,” Combs said. “While we heard from other stores that didn’t see a car for four or five days, we had steady business and maintained the staff.”
Combs felt having positive online reviews helped attract new customers, while some competitors were closed. He also saw a lot of business after people received their economic stimulus checks.
Like Pond in Jackson, Combs continued to offer free pickup and delivery services for the convenience of the customer. The staff made sure to follow up with the customers to check on their experience and make sure they felt safe during the process.
Mr. Transmission/Milex — Cary
Another franchise exceeding its normal expectations in an abnormal time is the Mr. Transmission/Milex store in Cary, where sales increased by 45 percent in March. Sales dropped slightly in April (mostly in the first two weeks) before increasing by 24 percent in May. The store broke its own sales record in the first week of May and had one of its highest grossing months in May.
“Some of our competitors closed when the shutdown hit, but we made sure to let people know we remained open for business,” said franchisee Steve Sargent, who like other owners saw a lift from customers who received stimulus checks. “For people who still had jobs, the checks gave them extra money to spend on car repairs they had been putting off.”
Most of communications with customers and payment processing was handled by phone.
“We have offered contactless dropoff and pickup,” Sargent said. “Customers can call the store a few minutes before they arrive, and staff members will leave the keys and paperwork in their cars. We have also offered free pickup or delivery of a car that needs service.”
Business has increased so much that Sargent plans to hire an additional technician. He also intends to carry some of the current practices forward in the future, such as contactless dropoff and pickups.
“A lot of the customers prefer this method, and it can also save the staff time.”