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Bridgestone Retail Benefitting from Anton Wessels’ Expertise

Bridgestone Retail UK is continuing to benefit from the expertise of retail managing director Anton Wessels, who is making his presence felt across the First Stop network and ETB Autocentres.

Anton took over the helm nine months ago with a clear plan to invest in people, coupled with an unwavering focus on providing value. His arrival is seen as a huge boost to the business, after nearly 30 years of experience in the automotive retail sector, most notably at TiAuto Investments in South Africa.

The successes achieved in his homeland puts Anton in the perfect position to drive both First Stop and ETB Autocentres forward, having excelled in operational, wholesale and commercial roles in the past. In articulating what success represents in his role, he said: “Success is about making a difference and leaving a memorable impression with our staff and customers.”

When referencing the ETB Autocentres network, he said that his priority was to create an employee value proposition to be proud of, as each staff member holds the key to the future of the business.

“One thing that never changes is that the success of a network is underpinned by its people. Getting the right people in place and investing in them is the key to delivering a superior service. My first impressions are that we have some extremely talented people here already, which bodes well for the future.”

He was also keen to emphasise the importance of each ETB depot being an indispensable focal point in the community in which they serve, with CSR and sponsorship opportunities to be pursued in future.

“A strength of ours is the history we have in so many communities and the question is how we can immerse ourselves in them even more going forward.”

When addressing the First Stop network, Anton stressed the importance of being able to support the unique needs of each individual franchise partner, with a tailored package of solutions that will allow them to flourish, from procurement right through to digital marketing.

And a challenge for both brands is to be more agile and adaptable to deal with huge changes in the automotive industry, with the EV revolution highlighted as an example.

He concluded with a pledge to make each retail experience as memorable as possible for all the right reasons, in order to appeal to motorists of all ages and gender.

“Customer experience is crucial,” he added. “Each depot is unique in its own way, but we can create an element of consistency in the way we assist each customer, through a bespoke service to suit their needs.

“By developing a culture of care from within, with an employee value proposition to be proud of, I’m confident we can achieve this emphatically.”