DEPARTMENTS


Service Beyond the Ordinary: The Vance Store

By Rick Cuddihe


Equipment dealers these days must separate themselves from the competition by combining technology with a friendly and customer-winning commitment to service. The Vance Store (well, actually, there are three locations) does just that.

Through three generations over a period of 49 years, the Vance family has sold and serviced power equipment. Vance Power Equipment (aka The Vance Stores) now has three locations servicing southern Kentucky and northern Tennessee. Kathy Vance, son Dustain and daughter Stephanie now run the company since the passing of founder and Kathy's husband Garnett Vance about a year ago.

Determined to sustain and grow the business, the family has positioned The Vance Store to be the region's leading supplier of commercial power equipment.

Kathy Vance, seated, with Stacy English, Briggs &
Stratton Power Products manager.

Kathy Vance, seated, with Stacy English, Briggs & Stratton Power Products manager.

"Customer service and parts availability are the primary driving factors in our growth" says Kathy. But the success and growth of the company rests on the day-to-day interaction between customers and its employees. "Our reputation as a company is in their hands. We can either make a positive impression or a negative one. That first impression speaks louder than all of our advertising, promotions and community involvement combined."

The Vance Store uses technology and computer programs to track inventory, parts availability, orders and customer shipments. Instant messaging between the three store locations keeps everyone within the company intimately connected.

"We offer fast repair service turn around for our commercial customers. If a landscape contractor needs a machine repaired on the spot, we have a repair rate schedule that can get them up and running right away," says Kathy. The three locations have an onsite parts fulfillment center, which tracks and ensures parts availability far above industry standards.

The Vance Stores supply many of its customers with
fully stocked parts and accessories cabinets.

The Vance Stores supply many of its customers with fully stocked parts and accessories cabinets.

"We supply many of our customers with fully stocked parts and accessories cabinets. Used items are replenished regularly by Vance Store employees so that parts and popular accessories are always ready when contractors need them," says Kathy. The company's mobile parts vehicle brings the parts and accessories right to commercial customers' shops. "This is one of the many things that we offer to our customers so that they can spend more time making money," says Kathy.

Also, The Vance Company offers The Vance Advantage program that extends manufacturers' warranties to loyal, established customers on equipment, helping to keep it in service longer. It also assists them in tracking their preventative maintenance so their equipment is always in top condition.

With plans for future expansion and a succession plan to continue well into the future, the Vance family promises to maintain the friendly, reliable service that's always been its company's hallmark as it adds new and innovative ways to help its customers grow their businesses, too.

The Vance family is determined to keep a good thing going.

Rick Cuddihe is president of Lafayette Consulting Co., a PLANET Trailblazer, and he works with landscape contractors to improve their businesses. Contact him at rick@lafayetteconsulting.com.