A deeper look at the 5 Successful Dealer Award finalists

Jason Cannon

August 4, 2014

Over the past two years it has been a lot of fun trying to honor what we consider the best truck dealers in North America with our Successful Dealer Award. Judging criteria does not factor in the number of trucks sold, which gives the smaller dealership groups the same opportunities as the large ones.

The award was  seeks to recognize a dealership/dealership group for exceptional sales and service performance and excellence in community and civic engagement.

It’s not about how much money you make, it’s about how you put those proceeds to work. It’s interesting to hear how so many of you invest your dollars in your people, your facilities and your communities. Maybe there’s some ideas in the profiles below that you feel could be implemented in your organization. All good ideas are “borrowed” from somewhere else. So, why not begin here?

The winner of the Successful Dealer Award will be announced at the conclusion of the first day of the Commercial Vehicle Outlook Conference at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas this month.

The five finalists are, in no particular order:

Successful Dealer Award finalist: Truck Centers, Inc. 

Founded in 1970, Truck Centers Inc. was one of the first heavy truck dealers to receive a Freightliner franchise in 1977. Since that time, revenues have swollen and the company has gone from 15 to more than 400 employees.

Aamong the TCI sales team, four individuals have won Freightliner’s prestigious Leland James Sales Achievement Award. Ron Donze from TCI-Troy is the only person to receive this distinction every year since the award’s inception.

Successful Dealer Award finalist: The Pete Store 

The Pete Store was founded in 2001 and has grown to 11 locations from Delaware to Georgia.

The Pete Store is a founding member of the Peterbilt/UTI training program, and pays upwards of $20,000 in tuition and room and board for eligible prospects. Once technicians graduate the program with full certification in Peterbilt and Paccar MX engines, the technicians are brought into the dealership for work.

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Successful Dealer Award finalist: Stoops Freightliner

Stoops Freightliner – Quality Trailer has six locations in Indiana and Ohio and is the first-ever repeat nominee for our Successful Dealer Award, having been named a finalist last year.

The company, which was recently acquired by the McCoy Group, has built its business through innovation and embracing their place in the community.

“We decided that for our company to be good corporate citizens that we needed to help save the environment in any way we can,” dealer principal Jeff Stoops says.

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Successful Dealer Award finalist: CIT Group, Inc.

CIT Group, Inc. was founded and incorporated Nov. 6, 1975 as Central Illinois Kenworth Sales and Service, Inc. and now has 13 dealerships across Illinois.

CIT currently sponsors classrooms at two technical colleges: UTI – Lisle, Ill. and Lincoln College of Technology in Indianapolis.

The technical classroom isn’t the only place where CIT reaches students. Internships in accounting, sales and marketing are offered to ISU students. CIT Group president Erick Miner and his company also reach out to students and parents at the high school level to make sure they understand the many benefits of working in the trucking industry.

“We work with 35 local high schools throughout Illinois and Missouri,” he says. “We have student nights to talk to students and parents.”

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Successful Dealer Award finalist: Freightliner of St. Cloud

Founded in 1963, Freightliner of St. Cloud is the largest supplier to the transportation industry in Central Minnesota as well as the oldest continually-owned truck dealer in the area.

At the local level, the dealership has been active at St. Cloud Technical and Community College, which includes hefty donations to the program and helping place its graduates into jobs.

The company has donated more than $110,000 in scholarships and equipment to the school, including a new Detroit DD15 standalone engine valued at $40,000.

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