At PIERCE we don’t see numbers. We see family members who make great equipment for their hardworking friends to get the job done. From 1976 to 2016, PIERCE employees have become a family and our customers have become our friends. This year we celebrate 40 years of friendship with you and we felt it was time to share our complex story. An interview with Jeff Pierce suffices as the source for the story of how PIERCE became the company it is today.
In the summer of 1975, after his junior year of college at Texas Tech University, Jeff Pierce returned to his home in Henrietta to get a job selling used cars in Wichita Falls. Jeff worked there less than a week during the day and then was given the night shift to work the lot all by himself from 6 to 10 p.m. By the end of the summer, Jeff was selling more cars during the night shift than all the other salesmen were during the day.
Jeff returned to school to finish his Entomology degree. During his senior year, Jeff went to an Entomology convention in El Paso. As he began to talk to the different scientists about their careers he decided against pursuing a career in that field. Jeff recalled the life changing decision saying, “I didn’t want that lifestyle. I liked selling.” Jeff finished what he started and graduated with the Entomology degree, but he knew that he wanted to sell. After graduation he returned to Henrietta and asked his dad, George Pierce, to help him start a business. George was an Air Force veteran that had many jobs on the side and an eye for business.
In 1976, Jeff and his dad went to the newly built Highway 287 just south of Henrietta. They had the option of buying land on either side of the freeway so Jeff and George spent the day waving at cars on both sides to see which side was more visible. Looking back Jeff jokes that, “it was a real high-tech survey.” The north side of the highway had more waves. Jeff and George considered it the friendliest stretch of highway so they purchased 10 acres of the land.
After the land was bought, Jeff spent the summer welding the first 30 x 80 ft2 building himself. Once it was furnished and fenced, Jeff didn’t have any money to buy inventory. All he had was his fishing boat, his welder, and some miscellaneous things that he owned and put on the lot. He lived in his self-made building for 4 months without a single sale. Jeff recapped saying he “did quite a bit of soul searching” during that lonely fall season sitting in that building having nothing to do and no money to try anything. As Jeff sat in isolation, he craved to sell anything. He finally had a profitable idea while reading the Wichita Falls Times Record News. Jeff would watch the ads in the newspaper for bigger items such as boats, motorcycles and tractors. When the items didn’t sell, he would call the dealer and ask to sell them on his own highway-visible lot. Jeff sold the items for a higher price, gave the dealers the amount they wanted for the vehicle, and profited from the extra. This made Jeff’s first official business called “Consignment Sales.”
After a year of making profit off Consignment Sales, Jeff wanted to get back to his initial passion - selling cars. Jeff and George Pierce decided to become regulars at the Fort Worth car auctions to get some vehicles on their lot. The Pierce’s would drive to Fort Worth, win a bid on a used car, and drive it home. George and Jeff’s car lot grew slowly because they could only buy one car at a time to drive back to Henrietta. When Jeff and George saw that the other regular bidders were using trucks with winches to tow an extra car back to their lot, they decided that the next step was to buy a winch. To their surprise, the winch was much more expensive than they thought it would be. Considering the options, they still bought the winch and began bringing more cars back from the auctions.
As more car auctions passed, Jeff and George watched new bidders come in needing a winch to buy more cars. Knowing that winches were too expensive, they decided to buy large amounts from a winch company and get a discount, then sell at a lower price at the Fort Worth auctions. The Pierce’s bought a large quantity of Ramsey winches to get the highest discount. When the next Fort Worth auction came, Jeff and George had their truck bed packed with their new product and a sign that read “Ramsey Winches for $325.”
Months later, the phone in Jeff’s handmade building would not stop ringing. Eventually the Pierce’s couldn’t afford to go to the auctions anymore because they were too busy selling winches at their lot in Henrietta. Jeff and George officially became partners and named their business “Pierce Sales.” The Pierce name grew from a friendly father and son that liked to sell, to a large business that cared about their customers more than the average. Pierce Sales continued in consignment selling large used vehicles, but true growth came from being a distributor of Ramsey Winches and selling a variety of trailers.
Towards the end of the seventies, Jeff found a good deal selling stock trailers and would personally pick them up from Oklahoma every day after work. Jeff would trick his friends into taking a ride and then surprise them with obligated labor to load the trailers after a long trip across the Red River. Eventually none of his buddies would come with him. Months down the road, Jeff fell in love with his soon-to-be wife, Kathy McGhee. He knew she was a keeper when she volunteered to accompany him during his after work trailer pick-ups. Jeff thought it was his lucky day until Kathy asked, “What do you do if you have a flat?” Jeff confidently rejected the thought having driven the route hundreds of times without a single flat tire. Nevertheless, minutes later on that same drive the karma of Jeff’s confidence caught his back tire. Jeff chuckles to this day swearing, “I never brought her on one of those trips again.”
Despite the flat, the trailers and winches were a solid direction for Pierce Sales. By 1978, Pierce Sales became one of the largest distributors of Ramsey winches and by 1979 Jeff and George ended the seventies excited for the eighties as they were known to be one of the largest distributors of stock trailers in North Texas. Jeff had been saving up for this tipping point in his business only giving himself 200 dollars a month to live off of. Jeff knew there was growth to be made, products to distribute and customers to serve. Jeff saw the eighties on the way and was prepared for the new decisions it would bring to the table.
In February of 1980, Jeff Pierce married Kathy and they began the new decade in Jeff’s self-made apartment attached to his business office. Kathy embraced the non-stop entrepreneur Jeff was and in no way was trying to be “the one that slowed him down.” Kathy is very supportive and eventually became the CFO of Pierce Sales and still remains in that lead role today. Happily married, Jeff was ambitious to take huge steps in his business. The success of distributing winches and trailers coupled with the discipline of Jeff’s savings, led to a decision to make Pierce Sales more independent.
When the weather started to get warmer, Jeff and George began hiring employees and built shops so they could manufacture their own equipment. Within that same year they were selling their own worm gear winches, slide-in tow truck beds, and farm trailers. Now independent manufacturers with a team of employees, Jeff and George became a dynamic partnership.
Jeff was the very personal and friendly CEO that loved to make relationships. He was available anytime and loyal to his customers. George was also very friendly with anyone who walked through the door and loved to be in a crowd. If Jeff and George were at a social, Jeff would be in the corner catching up with an old friend or making a new life-long friend, while as his dad, George, would be in the middle of the room telling old stories to a crowd of strangers he would never meet again.
George also was the strict disciplinary. The military routine George was used to in the Air Force would not tolerate lazy or moody employees. George was famous for finding an employee sitting down the last ten minutes of work and handing them a broom. George ran a tight ship and it kept the Pierce Sales team efficient. The attributes of discipline and "outgoingness" made George such an interesting man that people loved being around him - even if he was handing you a broomstick after working seven hours. George was a lot to handle in any given day and that is why people loved him, whether it was trouble or fun, you were promised to never have a dull moment while you were with George Pierce.
The early 1980's
After a few years of success in manufacturing, Jeff and George were open to new ventures. As Pierce Sales continued to manufacture their own trailers they found a company that was selling new tires extremely cheap. The company would customize brand new cars and always replace the new standard car tires with customized tires. Therefore, this company would have hundreds of brand new standard issued tires that were useless to them. Jeff and George started buying these tires and putting them on their trailers. When customers saw the quality, they started asking if they could buy them separately as well. Eventually, enough people wanted so many extra tires that Jeff and George started a tire shop in Henrietta. This pattern continued with other ventures they founded including Pierce Tire and Battery, the Hardware Store, and the Lumber Yard. More stores called for more employees that led to hiring Ginger Schaffner in 1985. Ginger started keeping the books for all the Pierce local stores. This was also the year that Jeff and Kathy’s first son, Wade, was born.
By far, Pierce Sales prospered and became a mercantile for the rural Texas rancher looking for trailers, wrecker equipment and winches. They also began selling a variety of farm and ranch equipment such as dump kits and the Pierce bale spike that Henrietta’s very own Rick Langford developed in 1986. Jeff and George would buy and sell anything in these categories as long as it was a good deal for Pierce Sales and their customers. Jeff was not only extremely flexible in what he would sell; but also very available on when he would sale. Pierce Sales was open on the weekends while Jeff and Kathy still lived in the attachment apartment. On a regular basis Jeff had friends over of a cookout and customers would appear by his fence and ask to buy a trailer.
As Jeff and George ran their handful of businesses, they really wanted to appeal to the commuters of Highway 287. People would drive to Wichita Falls thinking it was the closest place for lumber, tires, batteries, hardware or anything else the Pierce stores were selling for a cheaper price and a shorter drive. The most famous product of the eighties for these commuting consumers was the Pierce twenty-dollar car battery. This pull for 287 drivers to exit to Henrietta led to the Pierce commercials that people still talk about today.
The mid 1980's
Back in the eighties, there were only three cable channels in rural North Texas. Jeff and George would buy as many spots as they could for only ten dollars per spot. The Pierce’s ended up buying so many spots the local channels had to run them dozens of times a day just to match their payments. If anyone watched television in North Texas they would have seen the Pierce commercials a hundred times. Jeff and George took advantage of their cable takeover and began making numerous commercials so that people didn’t get bored with a single redundant advertisement. Jeff and George started off doing most of the commercials but Jeff didn’t really like the spotlight. On the other hand, acting for the commercials fit George’s personality perfectly. This moved George from the storyteller, the jokester, the public speaker, to a role that combined them all to be the actor. George was naturally confident - only needing one take and a few minutes to prepare. As the commercials took over the three channels, the commuters stopped and shopped in Henrietta.
The new Pierce local stores gained success as Jeff and George continued to direct the commercials. One of the most famous commercials was of a man sleeping with a toolbox. The commercials were a hit and the toolboxes were selling as soon as they made it to the store. The quick turnaround of the toolboxes made for one of the biggest Pierce Sales flops of the eighties. On Christmas Eve, a shipment of toolboxes came in and people from all over poured in from Highway 287 to get their last minute Christmas gift. Unfortunately, the toolbox company sent used toolboxes. Christmas morning, men all over Texas and Oklahoma opened the sealed cardboard boxes to find that their toolboxes were beat up, dented in, and had decals all over them. Despite small flops like the Christmas toolbox disaster, Pierce Sales and the local stores cruised through the eighties successfully with their heavily advertised products.
The late 1980's
In the late eighties, George’s wife and Jeff’s mom, Nancy Pierce, became more involved in the business. Nancy was a great mom, former school teacher, a proud grandmother, and a decisive confidante helping her son and husband make hard decisions. Ginger recalls Nancy as the “sweet Mother Hen” of the Pierce employees. With George as the disciplinary figure and Nancy as the nurturer, the team felt that they were in a family when they worked for Pierce. George and Nancy started a family environment that still fills the atmosphere of PIERCE today as Jeff, Kathy, Wade, Ginger and other leaders of Pierce continue to treat the team as their own.
While Nancy became more invested in her son and husband’s business, she got to see Jeff and George grow closer than they had ever been. Jeff and George were always close but when their business began their time together was mainly cordial or heated business discussions. In the late eighties, Jeff and George's relationship deepened. Outside of work, George loved to fly airplanes. Jeff wasn’t too interested in airplanes until he applied it to duck hunting. When duck season began, Jeff would ask his dad to fly over the ponds to see where the ducks were landing. After a short season of co-piloting, Jeff decided he’d fly too. As Jeff and George shared a common love for piloting planes, their friendship and business flew to new levels incorporating their stores as Pierce Arrow by 1988.
Grievously on April 1, George and Nancy were taking off from Henrietta when their plane crashed. The accident was fatal for both George and Nancy. They were the type of people that made the world around them better. Henrietta lost a vital light of their community, customers lost their friends, and Pierce employees lost their leaders who made them feel like family. Most of all, Jeff and the Pierce’s lost their parents - the head and heart of their family.
The loss was almost unbearable and is still a loss felt today. However, just as George and Nancy were the family many of the Pierce team needed, the Pierce employees became the family that Jeff, Kathy, and Wade needed during their time of grief.
The following year a blessing developed and in 1989 Kathy gave birth to her and Jeff’s youngest son, Philip. With a growing family and a supportive team, Jeff was not going to give up on what his mom and dad helped him create. The success and new products developed in the 1990s are a testament to their legacy and the foundation that was built from 1976-1988.
Kicking off the nineties was challenging for Pierce Sales. Not only was George and Nancy’s presence missed by the business family, but a competitor moved into the area. Twenty miles up the highway of 287 big-box stores were built in Wichita falls such as Walmart and Sutherlands. Local retail and grocery stores didn’t have the buying power to sell products at a low enough price to compete including the Pierce Local stores. Like many local store owner’s, Jeff had to close the Hardware store, Pierce Tire and Battery, and the Lumber Yard.
However, Pierce Sales had enough diversity in products and a strong market presence in larger equipment that it remained unaffected by the big-box stores. Jeff moved most of the employees to Pierce Sales and a few to the local stores that remained, such as the Gift Shop Jeff opened after the Hardware Store closed. One of the employees that Jeff moved to Pierce Sales was Ginger Schaffner. Jeff came into the Hardware Store to inform the employees that the store was closing. After telling the employees of other options, Jeff pulled Ginger aside to ask her to come work for him at Pierce Sales. George Pierce had spent most of his time managing the Hardware Store before he passed and grew a deep trust with Ginger. Jeff did not want to lose an employee that his dad trusted so much. Ginger accepted the request though her position wasn’t finalized yet.
When Ginger came in for her first day of work Jeff showed her to her desk that already had towers of files stacked on top. Jeff joked with Ginger that he finally figured out what she would do and found a lot of it. One of Ginger’s jobs was to create an account of inventory on a new software that Jeff bought. Early software was not very user friendly. Ginger would go home to put her new baby to bed and then come back to Pierce Sales to update inventory until 2 a.m. Jeff appreciated Ginger’s commitment. In time, Ginger knew the products well enough to begin selling and customer service as well as accounting. Unfortunately, some working men in the nineties did not want to hear from a woman how to fix their winch or what part they needed to buy. It was very common for Ginger to have to give the customer to a male employee and then the male employee seek advice from Ginger as she coached him through the call. This issue only motivated Ginger to become a top saleswoman of Pierce. Ginger recalled that, “no one could pick up the phone faster than me until I hit my quota for the day.” As Ginger took on task after task, she handled many internal issues that could have possibly been detrimental to Pierce Sales in the nineties. Ginger never let Jeff’s trust down and works today as PIERCE’s general manager overseeing purchasing, accounting, warehouse and production. On top of her many responsibilities Ginger continues to take care of customers – now when men call they prefer Ginger because she is the expert they need.
Jeff brought on other employees in the nineties that are staples in the PIERCE company today. One was Sheri Hood who started in 1991 overseeing the accounts payable documentation. Sheri still oversees that position today. Sheri’s position is crucial and when she was having her second child in 1994 she couldn’t be as present for work. Sheri’s temporary absence led to Kathy Pierce stepping on the scene. Kathy has an accounting degree but focused on parenting her two sons, Wade and Philip, when they were born. After Kathy’s kids were old enough she did some work with a local CPA then stepped into Pierce Sales for accounting help while Sheri was out. When Sheri stepped back in, Kathy was already a part of the team so she began to help with a large role in finances. Kathy progressed to become PIERCE’s CFO and remains there today.
As Jeff grew his team he sought to prune old products to make new ones. Diversity and flexibility have been a hallmark to Jeff’s business model – no matter the economic conditions or changes in the market, Jeff found it important to have enough product lines to sustain the company. This diversity is seen when Pierce ventured into wrecker equipment, jeep parts and remotes due to market changes. Already doing wired remotes for some time, Jeff met the founders of Lodar, an industrial wireless remote company from the UK. Jeff talked to Martin Skidmore and Tim Halford, the founders of Lodar, and made a deal to sell their remotes in the US. Lodar USA USA became a DBA under Pierce Arrow Inc. and is a large part of the PIERCE company today. Jeff recommended Alan Jackson to be the technical service and repair manager. Alan was a huge asset to Jeff back in the 80’s building bale spikes, trailers and anything else Pierce Sales made. Jeff knew that Alan was great with his hands, smart with technical issues, and had messed with radio frequencies in the past so Jeff connected Alan to Tim and Martin. In 1999, Alan took the job and still remains as the Lodar USA service manager to this day.
The change in product line and technology opened new opportunities to market the Pierce Sales brand. For example, the Internet allowed Pierce Sales to sell to anyone around the world. Also, towing and wrecker publications like American Towman, Tow Times and Footnotes featured a monthly Pierce catalog of equipment, remotes, winches and parts. Every month after the ads were published the phones rang. Pierce Sales continued the legacy of selling at the best price no matter the market. Also, the team began attending tradeshows in Baltimore, Orlando and Dallas to market Pierce slide-units, winches, Lodar, Dynamic wheel lifts and Minute Man wheel lifts. During the early 2000s, Pierce Sales became one of the top dealers of Dynamic wheel lifts. The partnership between Lodar and Pierce Sales continued to be profitable and beneficial. Also during that time, Pierce added to their diverse line and began manufacturing 5, 7.5 and 10 ton dump kit units for landscapers, municipalities and ranchers.
In early 2000, more staples to the company were hired. Chris Claeys moved from Pierce’s video rental store to the Pierce Sales shipping department. Chris worked hard and bounced between shipping and the winch shop, now he supervises both as the winch department manager. That same year, Pierce Sales was needing another person to share the beast of the accounting so Bettye Franklin was hired to manage accounts receivable and still remains in that work today. In 2004, Anthony Fairchild was hired for shipping and worked his way up. Today, he serves as PIERCE’s technical service manager and new product manager. The growth in the manufacturing shops led to Rick Langford’s promotion to shop foreman. Rick is now the economic development director for the city of Henrietta. The shop growth opened up an opportunity to allow PIERCE to manufacture their own line of wheel lifts. For a short time, the wheel lifts were sold around the nation. By 2007, Pierce Sales was focused on converting wreckers in their shops; building and importing winches; selling Lodar; locally converting ranch trucks and providing the best support and customer service possible.
Through all this change, Jeff was getting older but wiser. Jeff was well into marriage and his two sons were growing up fast, soon to join the company. The passing of Jeff’s parents was overbearing but he had now gone through the hardest of its time and was ready for a new day. With a new age of technology and culture on the rise, Jeff and the Pierce Sales team were once again prepared to stay diverse and flexible with new innovations needed to take the company to the next level.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 pen pals 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.
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 synonymous as 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 trade-show, or looking at their new website, PIERCE wanted their customers to have a full circle experience.
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.
Today and Onward
Today, Jeff and Kathy continue to create a family-oriented workplace; Ginger works to ensure efficiencies are upheld; Our sales team works tirelessly to 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 years, it seems the best is yet to come.
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.