A self-employed tyre fitter from County Durham has been recognised by Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis as part of the retail entrepreneur’s “Small Business Sunday” competition.
Mr Kerr was surprised when his company, Tyres2u (NE) Ltd, was named among the winners of the weekly twitter competition which showcases small businesses which have piqued Paphitis’ interest.
The former Nissan worker took voluntary redundancy from the car maker and used the money to set himself up as a mobile tyre fitter, travelling the North East.
On the advice of friends Mr Kerr entered over a number of weeks for his chance to be selected as one of six businesses who best described themselves to Mr Paphitis in just one tweet. The weekly fixture, which runs between 5pm and 7.30pm on Sunday evening, requires small businesses to tweet with the hashtag #SBS.
Mr Kerr, who recently travelled down to a ceremony in Birmingham to collect the award, said the publicity earned has made a noticeable impact on his inbound inquiries and sales.
He explained: “I’d been having a go at the Small Business Sunday competition for a while and had actually given up before some friends encouraged me to take another look.
“Sure enough, the next attempt worked and I was included. Tyres2u is now linked to Theo’s website, and that’s really helped strengthen my own site and my visibility. I’ve definitely noticed a build in inquiries off the back of it, which is great news.”
Tyres2u was launched in 2007 although Mr Kerr has been fitting tyres since the age of 15.
The father of two says the business is hard work but he is helped by wife Rona, who runs her own accountancy practice.
“I’m trying to get a new van out of her at the moment,” he joked. “Tyres2u is just one guy with one van so my wife’s expertise and support is absolutely vital to the business.
“When I started the business Rona gave me a year to try it before I’d have to go and find job! Thankfully it worked really well and because I can compete with established chains on price, I’m still going strong after seven years.”
Mr Kerr, who uses twitter to showcase pictures of his work and engage with regular customers, says his ambition is to grow the business steadily and organically, having seen competitors fall foul of rapid growing pains.