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Posted: January 25, 2013

Diversification Key To Carolina Accessory Center’s Steady Growth

Ginger Glover, of Truckers Toy Store comments on how they stay on top of trends by looking for new products to sell

By Ellen Mckoy

"The economy is still a challenge. Just when you think you’ve got some momentum, something always comes up. But because we’re so diversified, and do many different things for every type of vehicle, we’re positioned to take advantage of whatever opportunities come along.

The industry has changed since I came onboard 12 years ago. I had a huge learning curve. But coming into the business with fresh eyes, I was able to look at the landscape and see opportunities to diversify and grow our business. Some traditional items were no longer popular and taking up shelf space. So we had to move in a new direction. We added wheels, tires, off-road accessories, and mobile electronics -- back-up warning systems, DVDs and seat heaters -- as well as performance products and window tinting.

We also got into spray-on liners. It was a necessity. Sales of drop-in liners were declining and customers were inquiring about spray-ins.  Then we started doing leather interiors. Right now, it’s the strongest it’s been in recent years, because car dealers are not ordering vehicles with leather. They rely on us instead. Leather also helps us with seat heaters -- it’s a natural tie-in to boost our sales. More recently, digital-cut floor mats have taken off.

Our car dealer business continues to grow. For pickups and SUVs, we do an oval, OE-look side step or a round nerf bar. Spray-on liners continue to hold their own. And we do window tinting and back-up warning systems for cars and trucks. Dealer business is one of the biggest opportunities. But it’s all about building rapport and keeping our visibility in the forefront. It’s an ongoing process -- you’ve got to work on the relationship. I always stress to my managers the importance of being visible, so dealers know they can rely on us to help sell more vehicles.

Overall, we’re doing well. Not like a few years ago, but we’ve got a lot of irons in the fire. Our diversity gives us many more options and an advantage over shops that are more limited in what they do. We have a great team that works together toward a common vision, and we have found ways to build on what we’ve learned that will carry our company into the future.”

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