A Profile Of Success
Vartan, Shant and Sarkis Ghazarian have rubber in their blood – not literally of course – but they were born into the tire business. Their father ran one of Lebanon’s most successful tire import and sales companies. He’d regularly import 20,000 tires at a time from Europe and as Shant and Vartan explained, they soon learned about tires and that, as they say, is how it all began…
Fast forward a couple of decades and the brothers were now living and working in Canada. After a period working for other big chain stores, Shant left to start the first of what would ultimately evolve into three profitable locations.
In 1997 Shant purchased the first location in Scarborough, and he opened the second location in Aurora in 1999 (Mars Tire Aurora) and finally Shant opened the latest location in Newmarket in 2004 (Mars Tire Newmarket). Shant named the group Mar Tire – Modern Automotive Repair Service (and as Vartan likes to point out… it’s for service that’s out of this world!)
- A Family Affair
The Mars Tire company is a family owned and operated business. Two of the three locations are operated by the brothers, Sarkis (the oldest) operates the Scarborough location, Vartan (the youngest brother) operates the Aurora location and Shant oversees all three as the General Manager with Jim Morson running the newest addition – the Newmarket store.
When speaking to Shant about the unique challenges of working with family he explained “It’s a double edged sword. You get the family loyalty for sure – and that’s great because you know you can trust them. Of course you also get the ‘other’ stuff that comes from working with your brothers. It can get a little tense at times, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Family is everything. "
The Ghazarian brothers are an impressive group of guys – still in their thirties they have grouped together to run and operate three multimillion dollar stores that represent one of the best possible images for the industry.
The Aurora location currently occupies 5,400 square feet, has 8 bays and 8 hoists, employs 10 staff and is even open on Saturdays! The Aurora location is typical of the other two locations and each facility offers almost identical services and products.
- Only The Best Products
Speaking of products Shant was quick to point out that they believed the secret to their success was in part due to outstanding customer service and the use of top quality parts. Mars Tire uses some of the highest quality products available today: Moog, Wagner and Goodyear. Mars Tire is a Goodyear facility and Shant explained that they wanted a brand and product line with an outstanding track record and that customers responded well to.
When I pointed out that the fact that Moog and Wagner parts were more expensive than some other products, Shant explained that they use Wagner Brakes “because they are quieter, have less come backs, are more durable and have an outstanding warranty. It all goes towards the customer experience. Better products means a better experience. A master craftsman needs the best tools or their work suffers. "
“We don’t use cheap products – we’ve built our business on excellent service and quality materials. For example we use Castrol Oil – it’s certainly not the cheapest oil on the market but we’ve chosen it for a few reasons, one of them is because of the service that Castrol gives us. I’d like to make a point of saying that Jay Le Francois – our rep – is fantastic. He is always there for us. "
- Customer Service
It’s evident from speaking with Shant and Vartan that the customer is “king". Shant explained that their philosophy is quite simple – provide value to the consumer through a clean, modern and up-to-date facility. Offer honest advice, maintain your dignity, integrity and educate your consumer in a non-threatening and easy fashion. Lastly keep your promises and offer a fantastic warranty. “We stand by all our products and our work, " said Shant.
And Mars Tire doesn’t just finish there, all the locations are heavily involved with their local communities. They’re a member of their local Chamber of Commerce, being Armenian they are also members of the local Armenian business council. They support charities like the Heart & Stroke foundation and various other events and organisations. Shant has even been awarded the Queens Jubilee award for community involvement and because Shant’s children were born at the Scarborough Grace hospital, he donated a very special bed to the birthing facility.
Mars Tire does more than just service the customer, they service the environment as well through socially responsible programs and are actively involved in ensuring that their shops and businesses are environmentally friendly.
- Hi Tech “Shrink"
Vartan is quite the anomaly – the youngest brother of the three he joined the family business only 6 years ago. His background is a little different because Vartan’s education while attending York University was Psychology. Yes that’s correct – he’s a certified automotive technician and has a background in psychology. He also speaks 5 languages which Vartan said was very handy when they were working in the Scarborough location.
Vartan is also responsible for the Aurora office technology and the website (http://www.fixmycar. ca/) You can surf the web while waiting for your oil to be changed because they’ve installed a public access WiFi spot. And if you forget your laptop they’ll even loan you one too – how’s that for customer service!
One of the things that Vartan is most proud of is the instant access to Goodyear’s inventory data. “We can instantly see if the part is in stock. " Said Vartan. “It vastly improves the customer experience. "
One thing is for sure, with Vartan, Sarkis and Shant all working together, Mars Tire is destined for a better and greater future.