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August 9 seemed much like any other day for Bob Shetler, CEO of Shetler Moving and Storage (1830). He had spent the morning calling on a client, Sears Holdings in Chicago, and was planning to take his contacts to lunch. As they were about to exit the building, however, the tables abruptly turned.
Bob's client asked him to step into the company dining room. Inside were about two dozen employees, including several upper level managers. As they introduced themselves, it became apparent to Bob that he was the guest of honor at a special luncheon. For the first time in the company's history, Sears Holdings was presenting its top service award to a retail service provider, Atlas Agent Shetler Moving and Storage.
Senior Vice President Jamie Brooks, Sears Retail Services, presented the award and plaque. Although Sears Holdings CEO and President Lou D'Ambrosio was unable to attend, he delivered his personal congratulations by proxy. In a letter to Bob, he wrote:
"The Partners in Progress award is presented to those suppliers who have demonstrated the highest level of commitment, quality and innovation. I am pleased to present you with the Partners in Progress award and appreciate your dedication to Sears Holdings, our shareholders, associates and customers. I look forward to our continued relationship."
|Bob Shetler, Chairman and CEO of Shetler Moving and Storage, Inc. (1830), proudly displays the Partners in Progress award from Sears Holdings. "In recognition of your company's teamwork and contributions as we partner to build lifetime relationships with Sears Holdings Customers." The parent of Kmart and Sears, Roebuck and Co., Sears Holdings Corporation is the nation's fourth largest broadline retailer with approximately 4,000 full-line and specialty retail stores in the U.S. and Canada.
The award highlights another partnership, the teamwork between Shetler and Atlas STG that has served Sears for the better part of a decade.
"Sears is the leader in training its associates on how to sell to consumers," says Bob. "It's our privilege to be a partner to them in their training."
Bob explains that four product training tours run consecutively throughout the year. These provide Sears sales associates with hands-on experience for appliances, lawn and garden equipment, home electronics, and home fitness products. Manufacturers of the products provide the trainers. For each of the four training tours, Shetler and Atlas STG provide trucks and operators for five distinct routes.
"We make stops all over the country," says Bob. "At each location, we unload and set up the products for demonstration."
Sometimes, when a trainer is detained or can't make it to the event, the PVO steps in to cover. "Our operators are on site all day, every day, as part of the Sears Holdings team," says Bob. "They are very familiar with the operation of the products, and more than glad to do whatever it takes to make each training event a success."
It was this kind of commitment that caught the attention of the Sears Holdings executives, several of whom mentioned to Bob how they appreciated the van operators' willingness to help out in the training.
"Our relationship is built on a strong level of trust," says Bob. "This award recognizes the quality of work our company is capable of providing, and it reflects the dedication of a lot of people—from our operators and helpers to our people here in the office. Everyone involved appreciates this recognition."