Razor Sharp

Led by district manager Robert Tolbert, Matco’s Arkansas district has seen an increase in sales, distributors and good times.


Anybody who has spent time in Arkansas knows one thing for sure: the people love their Razorbacks, the nickname for the college sports teams. And although they’re about 1,000 miles away, Razorbacks have been making the folks in Stow, OH pretty excited as well. The hard-working Arkansas...


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“Each morning my wife (Barbara) and I join hands and start the day in prayer. At the end of our day, we thank God for what he has done and what he is going to do. I know that this business isn’t mine, I just run it for the Lord. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future, and that’s what counts the most,” states Cook.

Service With A Smile

“I want to be the type of DM that I never had. I approach my job as a district manager with the attitude of mobile dealer,” explains Robert Tolbert. That said, it comes as no surprise that he carries an attitude similar to the mobile dealers he supervises and supports. “To me, this is fun, not work,” he explains.

Tolbert’s roots in the business run fairly deep, starting with his time as a Snap-on dealer in 1989. An opportunity to work as a manufacturer’s representative then arose with Joe Echols in 2000. “Basically, I found myself in a situation where I knew distribution from my time on the truck, and now I knew manufacturing from my time as rep. So when I looked around at what I could do next, Matco really caught my attention,” explains Tolbert.

“I’d been working with a lot of their mobile distributors in doing diagnostic clinics, and what really set them apart was how hungry they were, and how motivated they were to succeed. So I inquired about any openings and was fortunate enough to wind up here.”

His experience, particularly with diagnostic tools, has made Tolbert a tremendous asset. “His knowledge of scan tools has been huge for us, explains Johnson, “and he’s a great motivator.”

How does Tolbert motivate his guys?

  • How about inflating a tennis ball until it bursts, in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of hot air when dealing with customers.
  • Then there were those flashing Razorback pins for his district to wear at Matco’s Tool Expo.
  • And it’s tough to beat dressing up as Captain America to unveil a new line of toolboxes.

    While some of his tactics reinforce a light-hearted approach to the business, there’s no kidding around when it comes to taking care of his people. “He certainly does more for us than our competition’s district manager does for them. We know he’s there for us, and he’s totally distributor-focused. And beyond that, he’s our friend. He cares how we do,” states Cook.

    “It’s a pretty simple formula,” adds Tolbert, “The less hassle they get from me, the less they have to deal with from their customers. It’s a win-win for everybody involved.”

    Although his district has seen things turn significantly for the better, Tolbert knows there is still work to be done. His district currently holds 15 distributors, but he’d like to add at least 8 more.

    "We’re really more of a family then anything else,” states Barbara Cook, when talking about how the entire Arkansas district works together and supports each other. It’s this type of attitude and commitment that has brought each distributor individual success, and keeps Matco rooting for the Razorbacks.

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