The weekend started early on a Thursday morning. Here in Chickasha, Oklahoma those of us here at the office began a nearly frantic scramble to make sure all of the last minute details were aligned for our fast approaching dealer meeting. We had less than 24 hours to make all of the last minute preparations and adjustments that we could and the atmosphere was full of hustle. I’ve been a part of the Hart team for about two and a half years and I have to say that I’m never short of amazed at how we are able to pull together and work as a single unit. Like a well oiled machine. Like a family. There was not a single one of us that did not have a stack of things to do on our desk and yet all of us played a part in making it happen. It is a good feeling to be a part of such a great group. Honestly, I didn’t know that this kind of team effort still existed in the busyness of today’s corporate world. Who knew? Months of planning and orchestrating were coming together, and quite smoothly at that. While we were scrambling to tie up loose ends our dealers from all across the country were making their way to Oklahoma. Some would be flying and some would be driving. Though their means of transportation had some variance their purpose for coming together was united. Our dealers were on their way to join us for fun, food, fellowship, education, and perhaps most importantly, reflection. Just as a mirror reflects that which is placed in front of it, so do our dealers reflect our trailers and the heart of our company. Someone once said that satisfaction is the death of desire. The moment that we no longer desire to be the best and serve in the best way that we can, we stop moving and growing. When we stop moving we become stagnate. Just like an old pond of stagnate water that will eventually dry up and leave little to be remembered by. We are a family owned company that greatly desires to continue to build the best trailers money can buy and to serve our customers in a way that makes them feel like part of our family. Our dealers are our hands and our feet. They are our number one connection to our customers. It was out of this desire that the need for a ‘Dealer Meeting’ was birthed. In black and white terms a dealer meeting is a fancy name for ‘let’s get together and reflect and fellowship’. Many of our dealers arrived in the ‘big town’ of Chickasha Thursday night. Others would trickle in on Friday morning. Around 7:30 a.m on Friday morning several Hart employees converged with our Hart dealers at the Cottonwood Golf Course for a game of golf and a hearty lunch. We were greeted by the early morning sun peeking through the trees and reflecting off of the wet grass. There was a slight chill in the air that provided the perfect balance of warm and cool out on the course. Many of us started out in pull overs and quickly shed them for our short sleeved tees. Our teams were made up of a variety of golfers. Some were very experienced while others were in need of a little help. All in all it was a beautiful morning for a golf scramble and we all had a great time. There were prizes given out to the winning teams along with bragging rights. To save face for those of us who are less than golfing professionals, we won’t list the exact order of finish 😉After the golf scramble came to an end all of us met back at the patio for a cold drink and a big lunch. By this point the sun was high in the sky so we gathered under the canopy for a little relief. The food was amazing thanks to our friends down at Crazy 8. They provided us with several deli sandwiches and deserts that were too tempting to resist. My personal favorite was the Sopapilla Cheesecake. There is no off button. Once you take a bite you are hooked. And you could very well become responsible for eating the entire pan…alone. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. The rest of the day consisted of plant tours and a little down time. Later that evening we all gathered again for dinner and Casino Game Night at the Country Club. Our meal was catered in by the wonderful Earl’s Rib Palace and it was excellent! Who doesn’t like BBQ? BBQ and Sweet Tea, the perfect ending to the perfect day. After everyone finished with their meal the real fun began. Box Talent came and set up a casino party. We were each given $2000 worth of tokens to play with. Now of course we were not playing with real money. Which was a very good thing for most everyone there. (I for one knew nothing about any of the games available so I chose one, learned how to play and stayed there the entire night. I might also ad that I lost all of my fake money. Good thing it was fake.) At the end of the night we auctioned off prizes. So those who actually had make believe money left were able to bid on the prizes. Ty Andrew from Stephenville Trailers headed up our auction for us on the spot. And we were pretty impressed with his auctioneer skills. Nice job Ty. The evening was a blast and full of laughs. And the bidding begins! Some went home that night happy with the end results. Others went home a little less than thrilled at their ‘gambling’ skills but we all went home that night having had a wonderful meal and a great time! Saturday morning comes really early when you’ve had a great Friday night. This particular Saturday was no different. Today was the big day. The meat and potatoes portion of the weekend. A little before 8:15 on Saturday morning we welcomed our dealers to our meeting. We met at the Grady County Fairgrounds where we set up ‘house’ We had several trailers on display along with vendor booths, food tables, a Hart booth and so much more. We believe we are blessed with some of the best dealers in the industry. With that in mind we wanted to roll out the red carpet for them (literally) and give them a proper welcome. We had all had our fun but today it was time to get down to business. Throughout the day our dealers had the opportunity to listen to several different speakers and collect information regarding several different facets in the industry. This was also a time to reflect and discuss both our strong areas and areas that could use some improvement.
And like any good time we enjoyed our fellowship with one another. With dealers all across the nation and Canada sometimes it can be months before we have the opportunity to visit with one another in person. So the Dealer Meeting provided a great opportunity to shake hands and talk. There were several breaks during the education portion of our dealer meeting one of which was a heavy favorite…LUNCH. Our friends at Crazy 8 Cafe catered in again and it was even better than Friday’s lunch. If you are local, or you are ever in town you must try their meatloaf! It is incredible and if you think you aren’t a meatloaf fan…well we forgive you because you haven’t had this stuff! There were sides and deserts that seemed to go on for days. I think it is safe to say that perhaps more than one of us ‘over stuffed’ ourselves. Maybe 🙂Brent took us home with a complete walk through presentation of our Smart Tack trailer. Each of our dealers in attendance were presented with a miniature ‘dog house’, a Hart Color Palette, and a customized Hart Light Box to use at their own dealerships and on the road. We think they were pretty happy with their take homes 🙂 When all was said and done at the dealer meeting most of us went home to clean up for the awards presentation and dinner later in the evening. We hosted our awards banquet at The University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma (USAO) here in Chickasha. They did a wonderful job setting up and the food was EXCELLENT!
After dinner Randy Stamper and Tracy Hart Graham led us in the awards presentation. We are so proud of our dealers and we were able to recognize them for their efforts and attributes that they bring to the table. Perhaps there were two awards that stood out more than others.
The first was the Hart Standard of Excellence award. This award is a recognition of dealers who go above and beyond when representing us on the road and in front of the customers. The dealers who won this award we felt really go beyond what is necessary to deliver the extraordinary. This award was given to two different dealers.
Paul Lambert of GFK Trailer Sales in Billings, Montana took home one of these awards. We appreciate everything that Paul does and the amazing service that he provides to our customers.
The second award that we were really excited to present was the ‘Million Dollar Dealer’ award. This year two of our dealers were honored with this award. This award was given to our dealers whose sales for the year exceeded one million dollars.
Paul Lambert of GFK Trailer Sales was the first to receive his Million Dollar Dealer recognition award. Paul not only displays the Hart Standard of Excellence but he also works day and night to take care of his customers. Thank you Paul, for all that you do for the Hart name.
Our second dealer of the night to receive this prestigious award was Stephenville Trailers out of Stephenville Texas. Owner Kyle Caylor and right hand salesmen Rick Looney, and Ty Andrew were each recognized for their extraordinary sales. Rick and Ty are in an area that is a hotbed for all things ‘equine’ and we appreciate their willingness to take care of our customers and help provide them with the best quality trailer on the market today. Again, we recognize that our dealers are our hands and our feet and without them we would not be where we are today. Our friends at Stephenville are a huge part of that equation and we are proud to have them on board. Our Million Dollar Dealers pictured below:
After the awards were handed out we spent the rest of the night enjoying the fellowship of our friends and colleagues. Those of us who have been a part of any team understand the value of unity and a common goal. We pride ourselves in being a family owned and operated business for more than 46 years. Family is important to us. So are values. Our company is made up of individuals who value quality, morals, and unity. This spirit is also reflected in our dealers. The thing about being a Hart dealer is this… You don’t just decide you are going to be one and become one over night. Our dealers are hand selected through several conversations and meetings. We want our dealers to represent us well and to reflect the values that are so dear to our hearts. We go to extremes to make sure that those who represent us care about the same things that we do. At the end of the day this means that YOU, the Hart customer can rest assured knowing that our dealers are really just an extension of who we are. They have been chosen to help us take care of you.