Glen Black
Glen Black

Tales From The Road: Being dependable leads to success

April 10, 2023
This Mac Tools distributor has been satisfying customers for 26 years by being reliable and dependable.

Glen Black has been with Mac Tools as a mobile tool distributor for 26 years. Prior to beginning with Mac, Black was working for the government as a technician for two decades before the company he worked for shut down. Needing a new place to call home, Black saw an ad in his local Alabama paper from Mac Tools. They were looking for a distributor, and Black had always been interested in the business, so he called the number on the ad, and the rest is history.

Today, the mobile tool distributor travels all over Huntsville (the most populous city in the state). His route includes a variety of shops, from small engine to automotive equipment to heavy equipment, and even farmers. 

Today's customers 

Black states the most popular tool in today’s market is cordless tools.

“They’ve really advanced in the last few years,” Black says. “Cordless tools and anything that is battery operated. Anything from fans, blowers, impacts, and ratchets. DeWalt just came out with some new cordless ratchets that've been popular.”

Read more: The tools and equipment of winning operations

Having been in the business for almost three decades, Black has seen and heard almost everything you can imagine. He claims he’s never had a bad day on the road, but he learned early on an important lesson he will never forget—listen to the customer.

“When I first started, I was ordering tool boxes filled with tools to put on my truck that I liked, not necessarily what my customers liked, and they weren’t selling, so I learned quickly to listen to the customer. I don’t necessarily care for a neon green toolbox, but a lot of young people, that’s all they wanted for a while,” Black notes.

Setting yourself apart from the competition

With so much competition in the industry, Black believes what sets him apart from the rest is his dependability. 

“I’ve had a lot of customers tell me they can just about set their watch to what time I’m gonna show up, and I’m right on time, so being dependable and being on time goes a long way,” he says.

Impact of the pandemic 

While he’s driven around Huntsville for 26 years, Black says the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 was the most interesting time of his career.

“Due to the pandemic, it’s harder than ever to get good people to work in the industry,” he says. “I’m fortunate enough I didn’t lose many of my people, but there’s a lot of back orders right now on parts because people can’t get to the jobs since there’s not enough workers. The supply chain is messed up.”

Even though it may be hard to find workers right now, and the supply chain issue is running rampant around the country, Black says business has never been better. 

Future plans 

Black notes he may retire when he reaches the 30-year mark, but he’s not putting an exact number on retirement, adding he could drive for another 10 to 15 years, but he wants to spend some quality time with family in his later years. He has no succession plan lined up for his eventual departure.

“I haven’t really thought about the future,” he says. I just keep truckin’ along!”

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About the Author

Brandon Lewis

Brandon Lewis is a former freelance editorial assistant for Endeavor's Vehicle Repair Group. A recent graduate of Kent State University with a bachelor's degree in journalism, he held various positions in student media, including web director and general manager at Black Squirrel RadioKSU's student-ran radio station. Lewis participated in web managing, copyediting and SEO practices.