Show Me Your Truck: Justin McCarthy, Independent

Aug. 2, 2019

Justin McCarthy has been selling tools in Boston, Massachusetts for nearly 10 years, visiting body shops, mechanics, heavy duty shops, bus garages, and construction companies. He purchased his 2001 Freightliner MT55 from an independent dealer three years ago. McCarthy, a mechanic by trade, put a lot of work into the truck after the purchase; new belts, new brakes, a turbocharger, and a transmission change were installed – but he didn’t stop there. McCarthy emptied the back of the truck, taking out all of the previous carpet. He sanded the wood, applied a new finish, and installed new carpeting throughout. The MT55 was then wrapped in a custom designed SK Tools wrap, designed by McCarthy and a friend, featuring large skulls and an American flag.

However, even after the renovations, McCarthy wasn’t satisfied with the surface area for display. There was a 100” space, reserved for a toolbox, that McCarthy knew wasn’t being utilized to its full potential. The solution – McCarthy installed a custom angle iron pullout shelving unit with four panels, which he built himself. The original space was reduced to 74”, still plenty of room for a toolbox. Now with four vertical, carpeted panels, double-sided display was a possibility through this dealer’s ingenuity and use of Velcro. When a panel is extended out away from the wall and toward the customer, both sides are covered top to bottom with products.

“The inspiration came from the need to have a lot of inventory, but limited space to put it,” says McCarthy. “There’s carpet all over the inside of the truck … I Velcro the back [of the small stuff] and hang it up so customers can see it, instead of throwing it in a container and shelving it. Customers can come on the truck, pull [off] the product, and look at it. Whatever I can put Velcro to and stick it on there (the carpeting) – is on there.”

“I’m like a hoarder when it comes to tools!” says McCarthy. “You’ve never seen a truck with so much stuff on it; this thing’s loaded.” Although packed with inventory, the truck’s display is organized, as McCarthy claims his customers know where to look for certain brands or products. When you first enter the truck, the front shelf is displaying new items, which McCarthy stays up to date on through his regular attendance of tool and trade shows.

McCarthy carries a large variety of product categories, from hand tools to power tools to lighting. “If they make it, I usually have it on the truck. I don’t like doing U-turns; I like to have the product with me,” he says. Also available on the truck are McCarthy’s private-label hot sauce and beef jerky.

This dealer capitalizes on his ability to innovate through his organized, efficient display system, which allows for a large volume of inventory and the facility to serve his customers’ every need.

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