Enter the Dragon’s Den

Craig Howes and Heather Murphy are taking their mobile tire service on the road — and all the way to a television studio in Toronto.

Craig Howes and Heather Murphy are taking their mobile tire service on the road — and all the way to a television studio in Toronto.

The Red Deer couple learned recently that they’ve been chosen to pitch their business on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, a popular television show in which entrepreneurs present their ideas to a panel of celebrity investors in hopes of securing capital and partners. Howes and Murphy are scheduled to go before the dragons on April 25, with the resulting segment expected to air this fall — if it makes the cut.

“They actually take on about 250 pitches and then about 25 per cent — give or take — of those pitches actually make it to airing,” said Howes.

Howes and Murphy launched GoTire Mobile Tire Service a year ago. The business uses a fully equipped trailer to perform tire repairs and replacements wherever needed.

Since then, they’ve been working on distribution contracts so that customers can buy tires from GoTire, and developing software that supports such sales and the booking of appointments online — even via smart phone. And they’ve diversified the business to include windshield replacement and repairs, with a mobile detailing service in the works.

Howes and Murphy have also devoted a great deal of time to creating franchise agreements. They’ve already sold the Central Alberta rights to Graeme and Janice Howard and have a dozen other applications that they’re considering.

“It’s going very well,” summed up Howes.

So why are they seeking the support of an investment mogul?

Money isn’t the impetus, said Howes, and even national television exposure isn’t the primary motivation. Instead, it’s the opportunity to forge a relationship with a veteran business person like Kevin O’Leary, Arlene Dickinson, Jim Treliving, Robert Herjavec or Bruce Croxon.

“They all have resources and the capability of propelling something so much faster,” said Howes.

Because the outlook for GoTire is improving on almost a weekly basis, he doesn’t want to tip his hand as to what kind of financial commitment they’ll be seeking from the dragons.

“I’m going to leave that one up to the last minute,” said Howes, adding, however, that they’d like to sell 20 per cent of the business.

Although there’s no guarantee that Howes and Murphy will make it onto prime time television, just getting into the studio is an achievement. They submitted an audition tape to the show’s producers, and also did a live pitch in Calgary early last month.

Howes described how an associate producer there became increasingly interested as their presentation proceeded.

After receiving confirmation that they’d made the cut, Howes and Murphy bought a new van and trailer with which to represent GoTire in Toronto.

“We’re driving it out there,” said Howes.

He and Murphy, who are engaged, have operated several companies together — including Budget Blinds, which they’ve just sold.

But GoTire has them really excited.

“We believe that we’re introducing something that could make an impact and have a place across Canada, and internationally for that matter, as potentially a new way to do things,” said Howes.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

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