SEMA Member News—March/April 2014
Welcome to PRO!
Getting to Know Fellow Council Members
Each year at the SEMA Show, members of the Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) staff a booth, host a reception and hold an open membership meeting. These activities give members a chance to connect with each other as well as share information about the benefits of council membership with Show attendees who are not a part of the group. When new members do join, council leadership does its best to help them get plugged in.
PRO offers effective strategies and programs to help member companies improve their business practices and procedures. Council benefits and resources range from training documents and seminars to special vehicle measuring sessions and fulltime OEM and government-relations staff ready to work with members. PRO also provides multiple venues for members to interact and share ideas through long-range planning meetings as well as discussion groups on social media websites. Members can visit www.facebook.com/semapro or search for “Professional Restylers Organization” on LinkedIn to get started.
PRO’s membership is truly diverse, comprised of manufacturers, warehouse distributors, service providers, media and restylers. Local restylers, installers and retailers can be some of the best resources for identifying challenges and opportunities and gauging the pulse of industry. In order to get a glimpse of what these businesses are experiencing, PRO recently asked a few of its members to share a little about their experiences in the industry.
Name: Rick Dynek
Position: CEO of Hubcaps Unlimited and founder of WheelCovers.com
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Company Description and History: Has specialized in wheel covers and hubcaps for nearly 40 years. Offers large inventories and shipping from nationwide warehouses.
Top Challenge: Targeting and marketing a niche that is often overshadowed by much larger industries.
Opportunities and Advice: Restylers offer many new options to enhance the look of today’s cars and trucks for a fraction of the cost of factory- or dealer-installed options. Focus on products and services you are familiar with, and be confident in the quality of what you offer. Remember that quality sells itself. Restylers do not make it in business without being experts in their field or by offering inferior products and services. Customer satisfaction and a great reputation will benefit your business for years to come.
Name: Jerry Roman
Position: President of Roman Chariot/Roman Empire Enterprises
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Company Description and History: Started in 1960 as a complete body shop and paint shop. Began customizing new cars for auto dealers in 1973. Had two locations with more than 75 employees by the ’80s and was PRO’s Restyler of the Year in 1999. Currently does sales and consulting and sets up auto shows in the Cleveland area.
Top Challenge: Staying ahead of the competition. For this reason, always tried to design and manufacture products that were not available to others. Was also involved in a group that helped company develop special editions.
Opportunities and Advice: Stay diversified, with as many products as you can handle. If you do new-car dealer work, offering electronics, moon roofs and leather is important. If you do retail, have a showroom to show your products and workmanship. I also believe that gaining auto-show exposure was the best thing Roman Chariot did.
Name: Solomon Daniels
Position: President/Owner, SDG
Location: Los Angeles, California
Company Description and History: Works with companies in the automotive aftermarket to supercharge their marketing and public-relations efforts. Starts by listening to what the client’s goals are and then creates a customized plan to exceed them.
Top Challenge: Knowing what to do with social media. Most know they need to be on the social media outlets, but companies often struggle with converting “likes” and visitors into sales. Teaches that social media is primarily a branding and lead-nurturing tool designed to engage with—rather than sell to—visitors.
Opportunities and Advice: Find a way to stand out and make it part of your marketing plan. Have that one element about your business that will be remembered and talked about. The number-one resource for learning the ins and outs of this industry is networking. SEMA offers tons of opportunities for professionals to get together, in person or online, to share business experiences, tips and advice. We need each other in order to stay strong and relevant.