Then and now

June 5, 2017
What it takes to grace the cover of Professional Distributor twice in one career.

It’s a rare occurrence to see a mobile tool distributor grace the cover of Professional Distributor more than once in his career.

While it’s not unprecedented - we’ve occasionally featured mobile tool distributors in the pages of Professional Distributor more than once - this distinction comes with an expectation that the tool dealer has vital information to share with the rest of the industry.

With prudence and certain scrutiny, Lynn Bazile passed the evaluation as someone worthy of a second cover story interview. Through Bazile’s nearly 40 years of industry experience - first starting out with a flag in 1978, and moving on to an independent route in 1990 - he has extensive experience to share regarding the many facets of the mobile tool selling business. He provided a wealth of knowledge and insights into the changes in the industry over the last four decades, and how that has shaped his business - and the tool selling business as a whole. I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to get some of these insights first-hand.

Then-editor Brendan Dooley first rode along on Bazile’s Orlando-based route in spring 2008. During that time, Bazile employed a number of the business practices that have helped him continue on that success in the years since.

Bazile’s customer base is still a good mix of independent repair shops, heavy duty truck shops and body shops. In 2008, Bazile confirmed approximately 15 percent of his stops consisted of collision repair facilities. Today, that number is upwards of 40 percent.

“Years ago, nobody wanted to stop at a body shop,” says Bazile. “It’s not like that anymore. Body people are way more professional ... because of the type of work they have to do, and how they fix cars nowadays. These guys are really, really good.”

In the almost 10 years since Professional Distributor last featured Bazile on the cover, some things have changed with this business. Namely, Bazile has been able to increase his inventory (even more!) with an upgrade from a 17’ truck to his 20’ 2014 Utilimaster truck.

One thing that hasn’t changed is Bazile’s commitment to his business. While he continues to lower his balance on the street, and is working with two other recently-established distributors to sell some of his customer accounts, he has no definitive plans to retire completely.

When explicitly asked about retirement plans, Bazile skirts the subject. “I’m 73 years old,” he says. “I’ve got to think about it.”

“I enjoy it,” he says of the mobile tool business. “It’s a good business.”

(Read independent distributor Lynn Bazile’s full story in the June 2017 issue of Professional Distributor.)

About the Author

Erica Schueller | Editorial Director | Commercial Vehicle Group

Erica Schueller is the Editorial Director of the Endeavor Commercial Vehicle Group. The commercial vehicle group includes the following brands: American Trucker, Bulk Transporter, Fleet Maintenance, FleetOwner, Refrigerated Transporter, and Trailer/Body Builders brands.

An award-winning journalist, Schueller has reported and written about the vehicle maintenance and repair industry her entire career. She has received accolades for her reporting and editing in the commercial and automotive vehicle fields by the Truck Writers of North America (TWNA), the International Automotive Media Competition (IAMC), the Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Awards and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) Azbee Awards.

Schueller has received recognition among her publishing industry peers as a recipient of the 2014 Folio Top Women in Media Rising Stars award, acknowledging her accomplishments of digital content management and assistance with improving the print and digital products in the Vehicle Repair Group. She was also named one Women in Trucking’s 2018 Top Women in Transportation to Watch.

She is an active member of a number of industry groups, including the American Trucking Associations' (ATA) Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC),  the Auto Care Association's Young Auto Care Networking Group, GenNext, and Women in Trucking.

In December 2018, Schueller graduated at the top of her class from the Waukesha County Technical College's 10-week professional truck driving program, earning her Class A commercial driver's license (CDL).  

She has worked in the vehicle repair and maintenance industry since 2008.

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