May '19

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34 THE SHOP MAY 2019 W hen Renee Moffat took over Terry's Toppers, a vehicle accessories shop in Oakland Park, Florida, she wasn't familiar with the industry. Moffat's husband had run the business since he purchased it from the original owners in 1991, but when he passed away in a car accident in 2000, Moffat was left to run the shop on her own. "I didn't know the business at the time, so it was baptism by fire, but it turned out to be a success story," Moffat says. "Failure was not an option. I had to find a way to make it happen and find success in this business." A TEAM APPROACH Determined to keep Terry's Toppers in business, Moffat reached out to mentors who could help her learn the industry, she says. One of Moffat's most helpful mentors was a friend of her husband who helped guide her for about two years. Moffat also attended seminars and truck shows and researched as much as she could on the internet. Along with Moffat's proactive outreach and research, her employees provided a helpful network of support, she says. Everyone was willing to help Moffat navi- gate her way through this new venture. In a couple cases, former employees who had worked with Moffat's husband at Terry's Toppers came back to help her during such a difficult time. "I attribute my employees' willingness to help to loyalty and just treating people right," Moffat says. "If you treat people like family—as a team—and let everyone have input, it makes a big difference. It's about taking a team approach. This isn't my company; this is our company." Once Moffat settled into her new role and got a better feel for the industry, she looked around and realized Terry's Top- pers had plenty of room for growth. In the past, the company had mainly focused on truck accessories. She saw additional service opportunities serving a customer base with a wide range of needs. Moffat recalls one case where a potential customer called to ask if Terry's Toppers serviced cars. The salesperson said it didn't, despite that potential customer needing hitches for three different vehicles. She decided it was time for the business to evolve in order to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive market. "I didn't have preconceived ideas of what this business could or should be," Moffat says. "I just looked at what was around and saw the potential from a different perspec- tive. Why can't we do cars? I was told they were low to the ground, so I said, 'OK, let's lift them.'" Terry's Toppers now sells a variety of accessories for many different vehicles— from cars to box trucks and everything in between. Truck covers, camper shells, liftgates, hitches and custom van shelving are popular among Moffat's customer base, and she has started offering more electronics options as well, such as sound system upgrades. The goal is to take care of customers' many needs. For a shop that places so much emphasis on servicing of the client, Moffat finds this diversification is important to Terry's Toppers' success. FOCUSING ON CUSTOMERS In addition to servicing a diverse line of vehicles, Moffat brings value to her cus- tomers by taking a consultative approach to the sales process, she says. When a customer first enters Terry's Top- pers, a salesperson will greet them and then generally take a look at their vehicle to get a good understanding of what's needed. From there, the salesperson will review product options and answer questions by taking the customer through the showroom or flipping through a catalog together. MAKING HER MARK 34 THE SHOP MAY 2019 For the owner of Terry's Toppers, failure was never an option. By Amanda McGrory-Dixon Terry's Toppers is a vehicle ac- cessories shop in Oakland Park, Florida. Renee Moffat took over the business in 2000 after her husband passed away in a car accident.

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