Re-tired and doing well

Coker’s Tires was a traditional service center in Chattanooga when it was launched back in 1958.  But over the years the competition from the big-box retailers eroded their tire sales.  In 1974 the owner’s son, Corky, took over the small division that produced vintage tires – and added about 5% of the company’s revenues.  Today that vintage division makes up over 95% of the company’s business.  Now the world’s largest supplier of vintage tires, Coker Tires distributes in 40 countries and has made period tires and wheels for countless movies, including recently The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. 

Here’s a business that is growing at over 20% a year while other traditional tire stores are closing for lack of business. 

How many examples have you seen where this principle has been played out?  If you sell washing machines and WalMart moves in next door, they will put you out of business – or will they?  What if you recognized that they sell thousands of washing machines but don’t provide any repair service?  Could that be a lucrative opportunity? 

New housing construction has come to a screeching halt.  If you are a home builder, you probably are ready to throw in the towel – or should you?  With more people keeping their homes and perhaps traveling less, remodeling and addition work is skyrocketing.  Can you realign your business to take advantage of the new trends?

In the old classic book, Think and Grow Rich, author Napoleon Hill stated:  Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.

Do you believe that?

14 Responses to “Re-tired and doing well”

  1. Damon Says:

    Nice. These kinds of stories always give me hope. I keep wondering where is the recession everyone keeps talking about?

  2. West Conner Says:


    This definitely holds true for me. We have a small, independent pharmacy and almost two years ago, CVS moved in right next door. At first, business suffered greatly and we were close to giving up. Then we decided that we are better than a big-box store, we have friendly employees who care, a live person answers our phones, and our pharmacist (that’s me) actually comes out and talks to people.

    Rather than be a general pharmacy that sells commodities, we started specializing in compounding specialty medications, and business started picking up.

    Then I started learning about bio-identical hormones and the response was phenomenal. Once work got out that a local pharmacist specialized in this therapy, our growth took off. On average, we are gaining almost 8 new customers a DAY! You realize, that these 8 people roll over into the next month, and the next month, and so on. It’s compounded interest in the customer word.

    This year, the business is so strong that we are in the process of hiring more employees.

    Being next to a huge company can be a blessing if you know how to niche yourself. Now, when that big CVS store sends us customers because they don’t have an item in stock, they don’t go back, they stay with us.


  3. Sandy Says:

    We must not be thinking! My husband and I had a cleaning and restoration business for 15 years. When we closed the business he sold Motor homes for the last 8 years and truly enjoyed it! Because of the economy he has been without work for over a year, we are in serious trouble and ready to file bankruptcy. He has been hired as an independent contractor selling phones with a major phone carrier which means he is on straight commission; it is going to take some time to build a customer base as he is doing it business to business. He has been knocking on doors sending his resume over the internet doing everything he knows to find something to make a living. I have signed up to get a certification in bookkeeping and should finish it by next month, but until then we have no income. He has always had the entrepreneur sprit but we are struggling with ideas for a direction to go. Do you have any ideas?

  4. Thomas Hurtt Says:

    Dan, How true that their are often answers right in front of us that we seem to miss and suffer the consequences. I am reminded of Kevin always saying, niche, niche, niche… How amazing that focusing smaller, many times gives more (in the way of sales). Your quote of Think and grow rich makes me think of another, that many times when one door closes another opens, however we focus on the closed one and miss the new opportunity. Thanks again for the great thoughts…
    Thomas Hurtt

  5. John Albert Thomas Says:


    I’m not Dan, but I think you have two things going on here. One is the need for immediate income, and the other is to truly define your passions, skills and a sound economic model.

    If your husband has an entrepreneurial spirit, he won’t be happy or successful till he defines his dream and makes it happen. What does your husband LOVE to do most? What makes him tick? What is keeping him from making money at THAT? A career/life coach can really help uncover these things. I suggest getting involved on to gain insight from others just like you. I’m there, and I’m growing every day with my own entrepreneurial spirit.

    As for immediate income, perhaps find/create something that will help move you towards the dream. For instance, if fixing antique cars is something that he LOVES to do, perhaps he should approach a parts place where he can get employee discounts. These are just some ideas, and Dan would have tons more to say about this.

    Whatever you do, set aside time and energy for your relationship with your husband. Remind each other that you’re on the same team. That way, even if you lose everything (hey, it’s happened!), you’ll still be a wealthy family.


  6. Sandy Says:

    Thank you for your comments, the hard part is finding something that you LOVE! He has been working on putting a company together that is an Independent Sales & Marketing Group. More companies are outsourcing their sales division and he is working at putting this together as well. It is a good idea it is just going to take time to develop plus this is what he knows “Sales”. Selling is what he enjoys but selling what is the question?
    Our marriage is 33 years strong; we have been through hard times before but thank you for your concern! 🙂 That is the one thing we have been successful at and are very grateful for.

    It might be a good idea to check out the career/life coach!
    Thanks again!

  7. John Thomas Says:

    A couple of ideas. If he’s a sales expert, then perhaps he’d be a good Sales Coach, training salespeople to duplicate his success. There’s so many opportunities in this. 1) provide your normal sales/marketing service to companies, 2) write an e-book or booklet laying out his winning sales principles, 3) host a free local workshop to area salespeople (which positions him as the local expert), 4) etc. As a sales expert, he can create unlimited streams of income based on his body of knowledge, which is what Dan Miller has done. Regardless, getting his own career coach with a specialization in sales coaching will give him an edge that would allow him piggyback on the success of others. If you go to, create a profile and start a discussion on wanting to start a business in sales coaching, I’m sure he’ll get more help, ideas and insights than he ever imagined possible…maybe even a lead or two. He will be as successful as the people with whom he surrounds himself, and is one of the most optimistic, successful group of entrepreneurs that I know. The cool thing is that they share knowledge. I make no money from this advertisement. I’m just talking from experience.


  8. Brad Andrews Says:

    Does WalMart sell washing machines? I don’t recall seeing any. They could be a good complement to you if they did move next door if that is (not) the case. Someone has to wash all those cheap clothes! And you may get a lot more spillover traffic from them.

    Some things may not work well, but complementary goods, such as the pharmaceutical example above, are the way to master it.


  9. Sandy Says:

    John that was great insight! He has had a desire to be a coach but really no ideas on how to go about developing that. He has also had a desire to be involved with business development and pursued it some and found that business’s were cutting funding in that area so he decided to go in the direction of sales and marketing. Thank you so much to taking the time to discuss this with me. I greatly appreciate your comments!

  10. John Albert Thomas Says:

    Wonderful. I hope and pray for the best for you and your husband.

  11. John Derr Says:

    As a salaried engineer with a degree and plenty of experience, I was released from an engineering position last August. For two months I wondered, “Why did this happen to me God?”

    Today I say, “God, I am glad this happened to me!”


    Well, a job came up at Chuck E Cheese for a Technical Manager after 2-1/2 months of unemployment. Now I get paid to play video games, actually every video game in the building and keep all the equipment repaired and maintained. I work with preschool children at church on Sundays and I get to put smiles on children’s faces during the week too.

    It definitely could have been worse – One year before my layoff, we tried to sell our small house and move into one 2-3 times larger with a payment 4-5 times as much, but it did not sell.

    I don’t make as much money as I did as an engineer, but I have a job right now that few people will ever have – I get paid to play games and I use my engineering skills and experience to re-design parts and improve the games durability.

    Remember this, “Just because we are not busy does not mean that God isn’t!!!”

  12. John Derr Says:

    Walmart would have shopping carts and they cost about $600 each. A great business opportunity is to repair shopping carts. I know that no matter how much money I spend at Walmart, the carts are always trashed and in Tennessee, very few people put them in the “buggie-returns” as they should. They are susceptible to damage, which means more opportunities to make money. Come in once per month with an enclosed trailer and basic tools and change wheels, replace seatbelts, etc.

    As Dan mentioned in his book about opportunities arising in our computer-driven workplace for massage therapy. Here in TN, you can find opportunities based on the facts that TN is #1 in obesity and #1 in heart disease, so certain goods and services are needed.

    My neighbor was let go from a large clothing store at the mall and started working with another co-worker, also released, and they started a plus-size clothing store for children. It is a sad fact that children are also affected by obesity, but parents and grandparents drove 25-30 miles to get clothes that actually fit the children. LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES ALL AROUND YOU to use your skills, abilities, and passions.

    Tutoring is also booming for teachers that want to get away from the traditional classroom. TN is also #47th in the nation for education. Perhaps more opportunities are there for more private schools and they need not be huge campuses. Start small and tutor kids.

  13. Jason Garey Says:

    What a great post, Dan. Everything you’ve all contributed is so right on the money. Reinventing ourselves quickly is so important in the current economy. Sandy, one thought for generating some immediate income with little to no upfront cost is affiliate marketing. That is, promoting other’s products for them. There’s a group called “Getting a grip on affiliate Marketing” you might want to check out. I would happy to share some other free information and helpful information with and your husband. Just sign up to, go to the members page and do a search for me. You’ll be glad you signed up, because even after a week of being a member, I feel like I’ve gained so much.

    God bless you as He lights your path.

    ~ Jason

  14. Excalibur Says:

    I am down and out and was looking at Dave Ramsey’s program and saw Dan Miller and misplaced his website. Last night I was looking at Dave Ramsey’s show again about creating second jobs and he mention this website. I have been off work since May 1 and it’s been extremely difficult. My husband has been off work since last year.

    Some years ago I purchased a copy of Napoleon Hills’s book to actually resale on ebay for a profit after I read it. It’s the third edition. I read it once and took notes but it takes money to make money.

    Anyway I have some ideas and I play to pursue them. I am working on a free website because I do not have any money but I have things to sell.

    I do believe when one door closes another opens but that hasn’t happened for me yet. I am interested in the marketing affiliate group .

    Thank you Dan and Jason.

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