Before the ‘80s, if you had a low tire, you’d better hope you also had your own air compressor. In 1981, Dave Bobert changed all that. That year, working from his garage, Dave created the coin-operated tire inflator industry and launched his first air vending business. By 1998, that business had $20 million in sales and retail and distributor partnerships not just across the nation, but across the globe. Demand was clear, and competitors popped up, but Dave’s company stayed on top, leading the industry in innovation and service. It seemed like a good time to step out of the business, and that’s what Dave did…for a while.
“When we started ARV/Certus, we made the decision not to purchase inferior, ‘off-the-shelf’ air machines. We wanted to offer the best machines possible, which meant we had to start from scratch, engineer the best machines, and build our own.”
Over the next decade, the coin-operated tire inflator industry underwent some changes. Innovation and service began to lapse. At petroleum retailers everywhere, one sight was becoming common: old, broken-down and out of service tire inflators. Dave decided it was time to get back into the business in 2010 and started Air Resource Vending, Inc. (ARV). Dave sold the ARV business to Certus in 2015.
Dave continued to work with Certus for a short time after the sale that Certus had time to develop a new management team. The new team immediately began preparing the company to pick up where ARV left off: taking the air vending industry to a new level of innovation and service.
“The air vending industry has suffered from a lack of innovation for far too long. In order to be successful, convenience store owners have to provide reliable services that meet the demands of a clientele that’s more technologically sophisticated, and user friendly than ever. With our advanced technologies and our strategic partnerships, Certus makes that a reality for the first time.”
Technology was the first priority, and so step one was a yearlong value engineering process. During that year, Certus improved all aspects of its equipment:
- Upgrading air vending equipment to deliver the highest reliability so that our convenience store clients know that they are giving their customers the best possible service—when they need it most.
- Testing all components for performance from -30 degrees F to 120 degrees F.
- Creating remote monitoring systems—a first in the industry— to provide 24/7 customer access for full transparency and accountability.
By delivering increased operating time and revenue to our customers through ongoing innovation, we are making a major impact on the air vending industry and our customers’ businesses. In the first full year of deployment, Certus convenience store clients experienced revenue increases beyond 80 percent.
Innovation isn’t something that you finish, though, and we intend to continue pushing the industry to the highest levels. Another way we’re doing that is by forming alliances with strategic partners who can help further our goal by continuously improving the air vending industry.