Tales from the Road: Being in control 

Feb. 2, 2023
This Cornwell tool dealer enjoys running his own business and all the perks it comes with.

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After years of having a desk job with an impressive job title, Andre Arsenault felt like he was running the company but didn’t have all the perks. When his father retired as a Cornwell Quality Tools distributor five years ago, he asked Arsenault if he wanted to run his own business and take over.

It wasn’t something that Arsenault admits that he would’ve sought out on his own, but after seeing how his father made a career of it and he was already familiar with the business that he decided to go for it. And he’s glad that he did.

“It’s running my own business,” he says. “It’s overwhelming on certain days but it’s pretty nice at the end of the day to know that I’m my own boss and I’m in control of everything.”

For the past four years, Arsenault has been running his route in North Shore, Mass., visiting his fair share of both dealerships and independent shops in the automotive and collision industries.

Perhaps the main thing he has learned since starting is that nothing goes as planned and that is okay.

“Every day is different regardless of what you have planned for the day and where you think it’s going to go,” he says. “It’s not going to go as planned. You have to learn to roll with it and make the most of it. Just try to do your best to be consistent.”

Ideally, as Arsenault notes, the key to this tool-selling business is, “do what you say you’re going to do and be where you say you’d be.”

As with factors that are out of one’s control, such as COVID-19, back orders, and supply chain issues, Arsenault says it best to plan for them and to take advantage of them instead of “just getting by like a chicken with its head cut off.”

When first starting out, Arsenault was only focused on making money. He now understands the importance of planning for the future by setting goals, knowing what he wants to get out of his business, and, ultimately, making his business as bullet-proof as possible.

As for his customers, Arsenault is very personable and takes the time to listen to their stories each week. He wants his customers to feel comfortable approaching him, but still ensures to “toe the line and still be professional”.

One area that Arsenault continues to work on is figuring out a better work/life balance. Having two young children, he’s still trying to find a way to make the days go smoother and not to be on the go so much all the time.

“Once I get that down, this will be the ideal scenario.” 

About the Author

Kayla Nadler | Associate Editor | Vehicle Repair Group

Kayla (Oschmann) Nadler is an associate editor for the Vehicle Repair Group.

With an education in journalism and public relations, Nadler contributes to Professional Tool & Equipment News (PTEN) and Professional Distributor magazines, as well as VehicleServicePros.com.

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