A quick chat with 2023 Distributor of the Year finalist Tidewater Fleet Supply/TNT Parts

The Trucks, Parts, Service Distributor of the Year program is back in action for another year.

Now in its 22nd year, the Distributor of the Year program is once again sponsored by the  Commercial Vehicle Solutions Network (CVSN), Cummins-MeritorHigh Bar BrandsInterstate Billing Service and Karmak.

Finalists for this year's award were announced in July, with one prior winner, two prior finalists and two first-time finalists earning nominations from the aftermarket for the industry's highest honor. Over the next few months, we will be learning more about these organizations and what makes them so unique. Today we learn more about Tidewater Fleet Supply/TNT Parts.

Tidewater and TNT Parts logoThis is Tidewater Fleet Supply/TNT Parts' fourth nomination for the Distributor of the Year Award. The company was previously a finalist last year, and TNT Parts was a finalist in 2004 and Tidewater Fleet Supply in 2011.

When was your business founded, and by whom?

In 1953,  Tidewater Fleet Supply was founded as a distributor of batteries by E.W. Walker, SR in Norfolk, Va., and later was purchased in 1956 by Ralph Ferebee and John Everton. TNT Parts’ roots can be traced back to the early 1980’s. Officially founded in 2000, by Greg Woods, TNT Parts was acquired by TFS in 2016. Most recently, D&J Supply, a family owned (Jeff & Dan Schubach) and operated business for over 45 years in east Atlanta, joined Tidewater Fleet Supply/TNT Parts in June 2022.

How many locations do you have? (Please list the cities)

We have 16 locations: Norfolk, Richmond, Newport News, Chesapeake (two locations) and Hampton (two locations), Va.; Forest Park, Garden City, Dublin, Lithonia and Buford, Ga.; Charlotte, N.C.; Pelzer, S.C.; Jacksonville and Orlando, Fla.

How many employees do you have? 

We have more than 200 employees.

How does your business recruit new employees?

Tidewater Fleet Supply/TNT Parts is always recruiting new talent. Whether it be speaking directly to individuals, getting referrals from staff or customers, posting employment opportunities in our branches or on our delivery vehicles, and utilizing social media, our company, and recruitment websites â€” we are committed to reaching as many prospects as possible.

Even if there are no current openings, if we find the right person, we will happily create a space for them.

What is your company’s value proposition?

Be best-in-class operator and industry leading aftermarket distributor of truck replacement parts and supply for fleet owners, vehicle operators and repair shops in our local markets.

Do you offer any additional services to complement your parts offering?

We offer:

  • Battery cables custom made
  • Hydraulic hoses custom made
  • Flywheel resurfacing
  • Drums and rotors turned
  • Free delivery services
  • Technical training
  • Outside sales
  • ASE parts professionals
  • On-site managing of parts

How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?

We provide a vast catalog of parts — from hundreds of product lines — to thousands of customers across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. And we continually outpace the competition by providing distribution efficiencies and advantages, which we achieve by having our stores and distribution centers strategically located.

We believe our people are our secret sauce. Our team is extremely knowledgeable, and we partner with customers to help them get what they need, when they need it.

What is the biggest challenge facing your business in 2023?

The biggest challenge facing our business is a shortage of skilled labor. Advances in technology, changes in the industry and overall job market, and lack of interest in vocational/trade education, all play a role in our difficulties to attract top talent.

Why do you believe the heavy-duty aftermarket has nominated you for this award?

We are changing our industry from the inside out. Tidewater Fleet Supply/TNT Parts has created a purpose-driven culture in aftermarket distribution that sets it apart from competitors for both employee satisfaction and customer service. We take our mission seriously that “People are our most important parts.” We are leaders developing leaders. 

Our dedication to a personal development journey has provided us a deeper understanding of our values, personality, needs, habits and emotions, and how they affect our actions and the actions of others. This has enabled us to be better able to manage our stress, make better decisions and ultimately lead others to do the same.

Positive results have shown up at home and at work benefiting our team members in the form of trust, integrity, fairness, transparency, and accountability. Business performance has improved in multiple areas: teamwork, M&A integration, new locations, new distribution centers and sales and margin growth. 

Stay tuned, as in two weeks will learn more about 2023 award finalist Wheeler Fleet Solutions.

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