The Story of PIERCE 2007 to Today [Part 4]

by Connor Crumpton on 11/4/16 3:00 PM

The story of the PIERCE history continues with a look into the 2007 through today.

 

PIERCE family

 

2007

 

By 2007, Pierce Sales was over thirty years old and Jeff was in his fifties. Jeff accomplished everything he wanted out of his business and considered laying Pierce Sales aside. However, a key factor motivated Jeff to not only continue but to make the business better than ever. His two sons who desired to come back and work for the family business motivated Jeff. Both Wade and Philip worked part time throughout high school, but in this last decade they have come on full time as key leaders for Pierce Sales.  

 

Wade and Tabitha Pierce

 

2008

 

However, as Jeff’s oldest son and his new wife enter the company, challenges loomed due to economic uncertainty in 2008. Wade Pierce moved to Abilene Christian University with aspirations to return to Henrietta and assist his father in leading the family business. Wade was ambitious like his father. Throughout his college career, Wade would buy chain hoists from Pierce Sales and sell them online. His side sales were quite successful, showing Jeff potential roles that Wade could fill when he graduated. During Wade’s later years of college, he met Tabitha Vail, an English major at ACU. She has quite busy in school  promoting ACU events such FilmFest  and  working for Creative Services on campus. During her senior year in 2007, Tabitha was offered a  year long  internship in Washington D.C. and could not miss the opportunity regardless of her new relationship  with Wade. Strong-willed like George and Jeff, Wade was determined that the long distance was not going to effect their relationship. Wade promised that he would see her e each  month. The determined businessman upheld his promise by  using the profits of his chain hoists  sales to win over Tabitha's trust.   

 

During the summer of  2008, Wade and Tabitha married and joined the  family business. Wade spent most of his first year in a small closet-sized room with a computer creating 3D diagrams of Pierce products so that suppliers and distributors could understand the products more efficiently and accredit Pierce Sales products as more professional. Tabitha worked in the marketing department under John Hernandez, a cornerstone of Pierce Sales. Tabitha was taught the identity of Pierce Sales and how John had captured the identity in advertisements.  Tabitha’s marketing strategy has its own unique form and high achievements, but Tabitha gives much credit to John and stands on his shoulders through the work he created before she arrived.  

 

john hernandez

 

In the early nineties, John Hernandez was contracted to create  Pierce Sales' ads. A deep friendship culminated between John, Jeff and other Pierce Sales leaders. Eventually, John came on full-time with Pierce Sales and became known for his fierce loyalty and hard work ethic. John was an artist that increased the professionalism of Pierce Sales'  literature. Outside of these  efforts, John took on projects that no one else had the expertise to accomplish. Before three-dimensional software, John hand drew vector diagrams. John also hand-coded a website that Pierce Sales used for years. John was an expert in many ways and he developed these talents by working relentlessly. It was very common for John to spend late nights on his own will to work on over complicated projects.   

 

Wade and Tabitha continued to work out of their skill sets and learn from Pierce Sales veterans like John on how to grow into their roles. They were excited to jump into the company but their introduction was met with harsh economic trials. The Global Financial Crisis of 2008 was detrimental to almost every business in the U.S. The crisis effected Pierce Sales customers just as much as anyone, making them delay their desire to buy new products. From 2008-10 the company suffered from the economies recession. 2010 was the worst of the three years and the worst year financially in the history of Pierce Sales. Wade recalls  watching  net sales  reflect  the receding DOW. 

 

pierce sales

 

2009-10

 

However, Jeff and Kathy understood the economy would not always be good to Pierce Sales. Therefore, Jeff and Kathy did not panic and close, but cut every corner they could to make it past the three tough years. Pierce Sales employees to this day attest that Jeff and Kathy made huge sacrifices to keep the company on its path. To add to the economic  misfortunes, John Hernandez’s cancer took his life in 2009. John had battled cancer the entire time he was with Pierce Sales. John was considered family and a vital leader to fellow  employees.  

 

Hard times didn't stifle the spirit of Pierce Sales. The team  banded together to bring the company into a new season. Tabitha recalls this time as a foundational time period  for the company as they strengthened as a team and began to identify problems. While the phones were quiet, the team started to ask questions such as: “What can we do better?” and “What can we do differently?” 

 

At the end of 2010, Pierce Sales was beginning to see things it never saw before the financial crisis. Pierce Sales prepared not only for a new year but for a new age in the company, an age where the brand of the company would reflect the identity of the Pierce family and the Pierce Sales team.  

 

Pierce Sales worked out of the inevitable desert years and planned for a new and improved chapter for their company and their customers. The main question that Pierce Sales asked was “Who do we want to be as a company?” Wade explains, “the answer did not come overnight. Just like a person doesn’t decide who they want to be overnight.” When a person decides who they want to be, they base that decision on the people they love and the things they love to do. Pierce Sales chose their identity the same way, finding who they wanted to be based on the customers they loved and what they loved to do as a team.  

 

 pierce team

 

2011-13

 

One reformation for Pierce was repositioning the team to empower each employee’s competencies. Wade’s role changed to sales manager allowing him to build a sales team with each employee with a specific  sales  focus. Chris Claeys was over shipping and winch production, which equipped him perfectly to become the salesman of the winches. Anthony Fairchild had worked in production enough to understand all technicalities of Pierce Sales products so he was recruited to handle any technical assistance and product development. Wade’s team slowly grew and success from the initiative was evident. In 2012, Michael Cowley, an experienced rancher, was added as the  farm and ranch sales manager. Jeff recalled hiring Michael saying, “we gave the ball to Michael, he ran with it, and he hasn’t slowed down since.” Jeff sees Michael as a “real go-getter” and a great addition to the team. Since then Michael has expanded the line of Ranch equipment and has done a great job of cultivating relationships with customers and distributors.   

 

Michael’s success led to focusing on a new customer. Pierce Sales loved all their customers but most of the team only related to the ranching industry. Pierce Sales is located right in the middle of rural north Texas. Almost every employee is a local Texan that has spent their childhood working in the country or at least enjoying the past times of snake catching, ATV riding, fishing, and camping that our farm and ranch customers are very familiar with. Jeff and other Pierce Sales leaders grew a love for their farming and ranching customers leading to a huge focus on the industry as Pierce Sales reclaimed the identity of the company.    

 

Wade now had a focused sales team and accomplished technical department. However, Lodar wireless remotes were  another main arm of the company that needed development. With everyone’s role beginning to settle and no one in the realm of Lodar, Wade took on the job of sales management for Lodar. Jeff remembers when Wade took the lead for Lodar and claims that “it really began to pick up.” Wade traveled with Tim Halford and Martin Skidmore, Lodar's co-owners, to increase their U.S. distributors and train field salesmen. Wade built the sales network until 2014 when he added Tony Pope to the team. Tony learned quickly and now handles most of Lodar’s US sales. Wade still contributes a substantial amount in the Lodar business but now can focus on his main role as the Sales Manager for PIERCE. Tony has grown Lodar’s efforts tremendously. He effectively follows up with customers and listens carefully to their needs. 

 

During these years of growth for the sales team, Wade was also crunching numbers to amend sales figures and financial documents. Tabitha compliments her husband affirming that, “Wade is gifted at being able to pull numbers, find the story behind them, and make decisions on how to make them better.” Wade used this gift to identify specific parts of the company that were performing well and those that were under performing.  As he would find areas in question, Pierce Sales veterans such as Chris, Anthony, and Ginger helped him decide what should remain the same and what should go. Wade admits that his cutting hand might have been heavier if they were not there to affirm the story behind some of the better numbers. Wade continued to oversee his team and organize more efficient processes in the company. As Wade created more efficient processes his younger brother, Philip, moved in to source and manage the company’s IT efforts.  

 

Philip Pierce graduated from Texas A&M in 2013 and joined the family business. Philip enjoyed growing up in the “age of technology” and his passion for technology. Philip’s most important role is IT protection or security and protects the company from viruses, hackers, and data loss. Philip works hard detecting viruses monthly. In addition, Philip has implemented new hardware, telephone and Internet networks.  

 

Another passion of Philip’s is his love for Asian culture. He enjoyed having foreign pepals but when he met a nursing student named Sujin from South Korea she become his only pin pal. In 2014, the couple married in South Korea. Strong willed like the rest of the men in his family, Philip decided move to South Korea and continue serving as Pierce Sales’ IT Director remotely. Philip would work from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. In 2016, the couple returned to Henrietta. 


PIERCE products

 

2014-16

 

 

Throughout these formidable years, Jeff mentioned a desire to use the incorporated name Pierce Arrow. Jeff felt that name Pierce Arrow sounded more like a product development company where as Pierce Sales sounded more like a retail company. They tested the waters with a new logo and font. She also developed a catalog and website for Pierce Arrow-made products such as winches, dump kit, ranch equipment and remotes. After two years of trial and error, the team discovered it did not matter if the company named a winch the “Pierce Arrow” winch or a “Pierce Sales” winch the customers called it a PIERCE winch. This was the same with every product Pierce Sales carried. PIERCE is a family that designs and makes products for people they love.  PIERCE does not only reference the Pierce family but anyone that joined and will join them in their family legacy of making good products for good people.  

 

As this new name was discovered, it was time for a branding overhaul. The black and yellow PIERCE brand and the slogan pulling for you were the outcome. The brand perfectly encompassed the new identity: 

 

  • PIERCE was synonymously a family and a team.

  •   

  • A family business that was serious and competitive in quality yet considerate in the price, balancing quality and cost efficiency the way their customers would be served best.  

  • A family business that takes the customers satisfaction and need for assistance as the highest priority of the business.  

 

Tabitha works hard to make sure these values were highlighted in the new brand, content, and PIERCE products. Whether you were opening a brand new box for a winch, at a tradeshow, or looking at their new website, PIERCE wanted their customers to have a full circle experience.  BBB torch awards

 

The PIERCE team weathered the economic storm so well that in 2014 they were awarded the North Texas BBB Torch Awards of Marketplace Excellence in the large business category.   

 

Thank you!

 

Today

 

 

Today, Jeff and Kathy continue to create a family-oriented workplace; Ginger works to ensure efficiencies are upheld; Chris, Anthony, Michael and Tony tirelessly help customers; Wade crunches numbers, builds the team, and works with Ginger to implement efficient processes; Philip sources better technology; the team as a whole considers the needs of the customer above all; and Tabitha reflects the company's values into the brand. The company is now more successful than it has ever been. After 40 yearsit seems the best is yet to come.

 

Closing

 

In 1976, Jeff Pierce was broke wondering if he shouldn’t have bought his land and built his building. In 2016, he is sitting in the same building with his wife, two sons, daughters-in-law and more than 25 employees that are like family to him. Today, he has a developed brand and is a manufacturer and product development company with his own winches, ranch equipment, and remote controls 

 

The main force that drove Jeff from his trials in 1976 to his blessings in 2016 was YOU. Our customer, our friend, YOU are the one that has brought Jeff and our company through these 40 years. Now, we are PIERCE and we are pulling for you because you pulled PIERCE through the past four decades. Thank you for helping us write this story. We hope you continue to be a part of this story by pulling for us as we pull for you.  

 

 

Take a look back at our 40 year history:

 

READ PART 1  |  PART 2  | PART 3 

 
 

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This post was written by Connor Crumpton