KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Arrow Truck Sales was launched in April 1950 on a small lot in Kansas City, Mo. by Jerry Nerman and the late Melvin Spitcaufsky.
“Our first purchase was eight trucks and cars from the Corp of Engineers,” reminisced Nerman, who, with the help of his very discerning wife, has since become a private art collector and connoisseur with a collection that boasts originals by modern and contemporary art giants such as Miro, Schnabel, Rothko and Warhol. (His home in Kansas City, Mo., was in fact built around his art collection, with the sole purpose of showcasing it.)
But times weren’t so good when Nerman first started out with Arrow.
“I remember we had to roll some of them down a hill to get them started, because we didn’t own any jumper cables yet.” Now Chairman Emeritus of Arrow Truck Sales, and active in daily operations at the company headquarters in Kansas City, Mo. Nerman also remembers the days when you had to grease a few salesmen’s palms just to get inventory in the first place.
“There were times when I had to refuse to buy,” he said, crediting honesty and hard work with his rise from a graduate of the “school of hard knocks” to one of the most successful used truck sales executives in North America.
Thanks to Nerman and his colleagues, including current president and CEO Carl Heikel, the company is now a major player when it comes to pre-owned truck sales in North America, with 19 locations in – three of them in Canada.
“This anniversary is really a testament to the benefits of always treating customers with respect, as valued business partners,” Heikel said. “Even among all U.S. companies, Arrow has remained in business longer than most that have been started since that time. I’m very proud to be part of a company that’s been so successful for so long – especially in this industry.”
Heikel hails from Volvo in Gothenburg, Sweden originally – an appropriate background given that Arrow is now part of the Volvo Group of companies, headquartered there.
That said, Arrow will continue to offer a wide range of pre-owned medium- and heavy-duty truck brands, maintaining an inventory of more than 2,000 over-the-road tractors, vocational and specialty vehicles, and trailers.
Trailers in particular will be an area of growth in 2005, said company officials. In fact, Arrow plans to double its trailer sales by the end of this year.
To this end, the company has appointed Kevin Schuller to the newly created position of Trailer Purchasing Manager, to assist National Trailer Manager Brent Hay in broadening the company’s supply network and trailer inventory.
“This new position is just one part of our overall commitment to strengthen our trailer efforts,” said Pete Monize, VP of purchasing and wholesale sales.
“In addition, we are streamlining our administrative, transportation and accounting processes and adding support resources.”
The company has also hired a transportation specialist to facilitate distribution of trailers to retail locations.
“We’re going to focus on hard-to-find, high-quality niche units, such as refrigerated trailers, flatbeds nd specialty trailers,” said Scholar, adding the company’s current suppliers include end users, major fleets and OEMS. Schuller, with 27 years of experience in the trucking industry, will be responsible for expanding that network and increasing Arrow’s on-site inventory.
Also new at Arrow this year is the Arrow Insurance Advantage program, offered in collaboration with Lockton Risk Services. The program offers Arrow customers physical damage insurance and non-trucking liability coverage and GAP protection, as well as several options to meet their specific needs. (GAP protection is coverage provided in the event that your vehicle is totaled before it is paid off or the lease period is up and you owe more on it than it is determined to be worth as a total loss. For example, if you owe $8,000 on your loan, but the value of the totaled vehicle is only $6,000 then that is all the insurance company is obligated to pay for the loss of your vehicle. You will still owe $2,000 on a vehicle that you no longer have. But if you have loan/lease gap coverage, that $2,000 will be covered.)
The program, administered by Lockton, has received an “Excellent” rating from A.M. Best, a leading provider of rating and financial information for the global insurance industry.
Last, but certainly not least in Arrow news for 2005, comes the announcement that Arrow has created a new business development position, as well as two new branch managers.
Bruce Brancato, formerly branch manager at the company’s Los Angeles location, has been named Director of Business Development. His responsibilities will include research and analysis, negotiation, licensing and start-up administration and oversight for new retail locations to be announced across North America.
“My main goal is to help Arrow expand our retail presence to meet increasing demand for our quality used trucks, and to do so quickly, but intelligently,” Brancato said.
Larry McDaniel, former assistant manager at the LA location in Whittier, Calif., will replace Brancato as branch manager there. Elsewhere, Randy Kricke has been promoted to branch manger at the company’s Atlanta facility.