(Michelle Felter, Staff)
MINER -- Smart business practices and a supportive community have helped Trucks Inc. have a smooth ride for 20 years. And officials look to continue traveling that road for years to come.
Richard Ash, vice president and general manager of the company, said he thinks that milestone is significant and says a lot.
"I see security and continuity for customers," said Ash. The company opened its doors as an exclusive Volvo franchise on Oct. 1, 1988.
Soon after the new business opened its doors 20 years ago, it also moved buildings. In May, Trucks Inc. will mark 20 years at its existing location, on South Interstate Drive in Miner -- before the operations moved to the current facility, the business was located in Advance.
"Our location is strategically placed," said Ash. It sits at the intersections of Interstates 55 and 57, with the nearest others in Springfield, St. Louis, and Memphis, Tenn. "We thought this would be better suited for us."
The business also serves several transit drivers, those who travel across the country. Quite a few of them provide repeat business, according to Ash.
Although Trucks Inc. is an exclusive Volvo dealership, it does more than that, as the business also sells parts, has a service shop and leases trucks and trailers.
"We work on all makes and products," said Ash. The shop includes nine bays, and factory-certified technicians make up the staff there.
Ash said he strives to have the latest technology when it comes to equipment. That includes a top-of-the-line alignment machine and a VIS Check -- which stands for vehicle inspection system machine.
"We're invested in our business," said Ash.
The employees have much invested in the business, too.
Ash has worked for the company for 25 years -- before it became an exclusive Volvo dealership. He began work when he was 15 and looking for a part-time job, and has since climbed the ranks to his current position.
Although no other employees have been there as long as Ash, most of the 17 employees on staff are long-term, some with a decade or more of service.
And the staff are what makes the local dealership stand apart from some others, said Ash.
"A courteous staff is very important, and you need to be flexible to work with customers," he said. Product knowledge, as well as a personal touch, are what also makes the company successful, according to Ash.
Over the years, the dealership has won several awards, including quota booster and for outstanding sales performance.
Trucks Inc. is, in Ash's opinion, a vital member of the community. "And I want to grow with the community," he said.
He also said the company prides itself on giving back to the community, through sponsorship and support of several events and organizations. But without the support of those people, the business wouldn't be so successful, either, Ash pointed out.
But looking down the road, the future appears to be bright.
"I can definitely see another 20, 30, 40 years," said Ash. "And in the future, I see us to continue to serve the customer and community."
Trucks Inc. is open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7:30 a.m. to noon Saturday. Located at 330 S. Interstate drive, the phone number is 472-2650, and toll-free number is 1-800-748-7102. More information is also available on its Web site, www.trucksinc.biz.