The Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) has announced that The Merrill Company of Spencer, IA has received the coveted 2013 Head of the Class Award for Large Warehouse Distributors.
The Merrill Company was selected to receive the Head of the Class Award due to their continuous growth and cultivation of their associates. With over 600 associates, The Merrill Company incorporates several different training methods into their program in order to provide the best training possible.
They have a stand-alone training center in Spencer, IA that is capable of offering underhood/under-car training, as well as reﬁnish and industrial coatings application instruction. In addition to their training center, The Merrill Company offers many online courses that are in conjunction with The Alliance University, as well as various manufacture’s technical and sales training programs. The Merrill Company supports both external and internal certiﬁcation programs, holds extensive multiple-day training sessions at their training center, incorporates lunch & learns and monthly webinars, and pays the cost of tuition for their associates. They have over 90 ASE Parts Specialists and over 30 Master Machinists. Most of their sales associates have participated in the WIX Filtration School in Gastonia, NC, in which The Merrill Company is one of the leaders from The Alliance in attendance. Through these efforts, they are constantly striving to develop creative methods of training that cater to all employee needs.
Training is a major factor in The Merrill Company’s business culture and is available to everyone, from managers to delivery drivers; they know that investing in their associates builds confidence of individuals so that they can perform at a higher level and impart knowledge to their associates. This can be seen in their 86 years of training history, in which they have cultivated many 2nd and 3rd generation associates. The Merrill Company promotes a permeating theme of leadership and encouragement throughout all their stores and distribution centers. They provide individualized support to each associate’s level of development in order to give the appropriate guidance and training for that person’s career path. They encourage their associates to become leaders in training others. The Merrill Company achieves management success, improves employee morale, strengthens customer service, reduces losses, and increases sales through their investment in their team members
Arnold Motor Supply started in Spencer, Iowa in 1927 by E.P. Arnold and is one of the largest partnerships in the United States with stores in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Illinois, and Missouri. The Arnold Group includes 38 Arnold Motor Supply stores, 11 Auto Value Parts Stores as well as two warehouses, an Auto Refinish division, a light industrial coating distributor, and a cylinder head re-manufacturing division. Twenty-one store locations have complete machine shops located within the stores.
Dalen Schipper has been named the Manager of the Cedar Falls Arnold Motor Supply store. Dalen has been providing exceptional service to our customers since 2001, both inside the store at the counter and traveling with a sales route. Congratulations Dalen.
Author Eric M. Johnson has released his new book You Build a Business with People detailing the rise of the well known Iowa based jobber Arnold Motor Supply. The book chronicles entrepreneur E.P. Arnold as he built his business from depression era Iowa through the 1970’s. Today the business has grown to include 60 locations across five states and employs over 600 people.
You Build a Business with People explores the concept of the American Dream as it existed in the early 20th century and how E.P. Arnold overcame obstacles through the depression and war years. Johnson says, “The majority of the book tells the story of Mr. Arnold. I wanted to put him in the context of the history. The book is about him and what was going on around him at the time. It is relevant today because the challenges faced by Mr. Arnold are similar to those faced by entrepreneurs and small businesses today in a challenging economic environment.”
Eric M. Johnson discusses the organization of Arnold Motor Supply as a partnership and the traits about Mr. Arnold that made him an effective leader and businessman. John R. Washbish, President and CEO of Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance said, “As big as the automotive aftermarket is there's a dearth of literature available about its history. Eric M. Johnson helps remedy this with his book You Build a Business With People. It spins the tale of the Arnold Motor Supply stores and the ensuing Merrill Company. Mr. Johnson's characterization of the visionary E.P. Arnold, who over the years sold the company to its employees, is fact-filled and fascinating.”
Eric M. Johnson has a Bachelors degree in Economics and a Masters degree in Information Systems. He and his wife live near Spencer, Iowa and have two teenage sons. You Build a Business with People is available on the author’s website, ericmjohnson.me or from Amazon.com. The author can be contacted at 712-264-4023.
The Arnold Group of Companies, headquartered in Spencer, Iowa, recognized Jason Brandis from APW Omaha, an Auto Value Parts Store, at the company's Counter Professional's Meeting held in Omaha on February 23, 2013.
Brandis was awarded the prestigious 2012 Counter Professional of The Year Award that honors the top counter professional of the company for their contribution, unselfish attitude, and dedication to their store. He is a 17-year veteran of the industry and has been a counter professional with the company for 14 of those years. Jason is noted for his exemplary customer service and positive attitude.