A quarter century of PD

March 5, 2018
We look back on the evolution of a market and a magazine.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Professional Distributor magazine. Back in 1992 the cold war officially ended, Hurricane Andrew struck the coast of southern Florida on August 22, and Bill Clinton was elected president, to succeed President George H.W. Bush.

That same year, Rudy Wolf founded Professional Tool & Equipment Distributor magazine. If you’ve stuck with us from the beginning, we couldn’t be more appreciative. That’s a quarter of a century covering new-to-market automotive repair tools and equipment, fully stocked trucks (the mobile store front) and proven business strategies.

The history of tool selling and the tool distribution market has certainly evolved throughout the years, just as this magazine has evolved. Consider changes that have already taken place for your business.

For example, imagine running your route without a mobile phone (let alone a smartphone) or a laptop to keep track of sales, inventories or orders. Instead, you may have received customer communication via a pager.

Plus, there were no credit card machines back in 1992 -- all customer payments would have been cash or check.

In terms of tools, consider the inventory you may have carried 25 years ago: only basic code readers for OBD-I (the OBD-II standard wasn’t introduced until 1996) were available. Mechanics handled mostly parts replacements, and diagnosis involved investigating a particular rattle or squeak coming from a car, not hooking up a tool to a car’s computer.

But some things don’t change -- including having (or getting) the right products for your customers and offering exceptional service to stay in business.

I just returned home from the Matco and Mac tool fairs where I had a chance to meet and chat with some of you, which I always enjoy. I like to hear all the different ways you all manage to keep the wheels turning and the tools moving as this industry changes and grows.

As we continue our journey in the market, the Professional Distributor staff plans to evolve with the times. We’ll be sharing more throughout the year on the history of the industry, and the impact Professional Distributor has made since it began.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more to come.

About the Author

Sara Scullin | Editor | PTEN and Professional Distributor

Sara Scullin is the editor of PTEN and Professional Distributor magazines. These publications are part of the Endeavor Business Media Vehicle Repair Group, which includes Fleet Maintenance, Professional Tool & Equipment News (PTEN), Professional Distributor magazines and VehicleServicePros.com.

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