Brad Tucker, Georgia Square Collision
What inspired you to start your business in Athens?
Southern towns with universities provide a unique blend of hospitality, culture, climate and opportunity. My family has lived in Athens for the last 15 years, and when the possibility of owning the collision center presented itself, I jumped at the chance.
What made you decide to become a Chamber member?
Georgia Square Collision is a Chamber member for several reasons. We believe in active participation in the business community and feel that the Chamber is the best option for being involved with businesses in a variety of industries. We believe member businesses share a philosophy of business operation that is consistent with our own, namely, valuing customers and employees, supporting and promoting the community in which you operate, and constantly working to improve how you serve the people with whom you interact.
What have you learned from your fellow Chamber members?
There are too many things to name them all! I have learned a great deal about effective networking, better ways to serve our customers, things that successful entrepreneurs focus on in their businesses, and ideas for growing our business, among other things. I am also better informed about the Athens, GA business community as a result of interacting with fellow Chamber members.
Do you have any mentors or mentees in the business community you connected with through the Chamber?
I consider Sunita Singh and Josh Melton mentors who have helped me learn about effective networking. In many ways, all Chamber members have been mentors to me, as many conversations I have had with other members have led to “a-ha” moments when thinking about my own business. For me, the ability to brainstorm about business with other business owners is an invaluable benefit of Chamber membership.
How has being a chamber member helped you reach your business goals?
Certainly, being a Chamber member has exposed our business to more potential customers and helped grow our revenue. We have also found many vendors through the Chamber that have either saved us money or provided a better quality product or service than we were previously using. Less tangibly but perhaps more importantly, I believe I have become a more effective CEO as the result of our Chamber membership.
What advice can you offer to fellow members of the local business community?
Happy customers and happy employees tend to create successful businesses. Stay true to your guiding principles, and don’t compromise them for the sake of expediency. Be a student of your industry by paying attention to emerging trends.
What are some goals you’ve set for your business this year?
We have the usual sales growth goals (doesn’t everybody?), but one of our main goals this year has been to help all of our technicians attain the highest level of training certification in our industry. Another goal has been to gain certification in the repair of the newest materials being used to manufacture automobiles. I am pleased to say the majority of our technicians have attained the training goal and we have been recognized by multiple automobile manufacturers as a certified collision repair facility.
In what ways would you like to see the Athens’ business climate evolve in the upcoming years?
I think the current relationship between the Athens/Clarke County government and the business community is better than it has been in years past. I believe it is important to continue to nurture this relationship, as the two groups require one another in order to achieve both individual and shared goals.
In your opinion, what’s the most valuable asset the Chamber offers its members?
The Chamber offers an opportunity for Athens area business people to meet and interact in a way that is not readily available elsewhere. So many benefits arise from this interaction; we grow our businesses, we help others grow theirs, we make new friends, and we help our community prosper and achieve.