Enterprises across the country are rethinking how much office space they need post-pandemic, as knowledge workers and admin staff show no signs of wanting to let go of the conferencing and collaboration tools that enable them to log in from home.
Gary Desai, CIO at Discount Tire, has another real-estate question on his mind, though: How can IT help reduce the footprint of the company’s typical tire shop so that it can open new locations in more densely populated markets?
Discount Tire has around 1,100 stores employing 22,000 people across the US, and adds another 50 outlets each year. A typical shop will have a glass storefront that houses a display of tires and wheel rims, as well as a seating area and desks where sales staff can check in customers on computers and help them pick out the services they need. Out back, there’ll be three or four bays where the cars are serviced.
“Today we are mostly in Texas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, where you’ve got big parking lots,” says Desai, who joined the 60-year-old family-owned business in January 2020.
The situation in New York or Boston, however, is very different. “Land there is at a premium. If you want to enter those markets, you want to enter it with half the footprint of your competition,” he says.