Renville Sales Inc. - Taking Care of Customers and Community
Nearly 30 years ago, Renville Sales Inc. was born as an auction company in the city that shares its name, Renville, MN. Little did Todd Fitzner know at the time, dabbling in trailers while his father ran the auction side of the business would lead to big things.
“In 2002, my wife Lisa and I really wanted to expand into the trailer side because we saw the auction industry-changing. We put more of our focus onto the trailers because that was an avenue that we both enjoyed and we knew that there was room for growth and expansion,” said Fitzner, owner of Renville Sales Inc.
Since shifting gears in 2002, Fitzner’s son, Shane, also joined the family business and is currently part of the sales team. Keeping Renville Sales Inc. family-owned-and-operated has become something of a trademark for the company, taking pride in treating each customer like family.
“A big part of our success comes from a lot of referrals. People are referring their friends and family to us. We hear it all the time. ‘You’ve got to go to Renville to buy your trailer. They really treat you right. They take care of you!’ We treat our customers as fairly as we would treat our own family,” Fitzner explained.
Just like every family, though, Renville Sales Inc. has faced some hurdles. In 2003, Renville Sales Inc. upgraded their facilities due to the poor condition of the original structure that housed the business. Building a new structure gave Fitzner the ability to introduce a new, full-scale service department offering yet another layer of commitment to the community.
“It showed, not only to our customers but people in our community, that we were willing to put something down on the line and show a vested interest by saying – You know what? we’re going to be here for a long time,” Fitzner excitedly shared. “Renville’s not like going to a big box store. We’re standing behind the product. We service every trailer before it goes on our lot. We take it in from the factory and we perform a complete service on it. It gives us a piece of mind that when the customer picks that trailer up, we’ve checked it. Not only has the factory done their job, but we have done ours,” he added.
As times change and the business grows, it’s not always easy to find the right people to perform the work necessary for the day-to-day operation of a family business. As Renville Sales Inc. grows, that means more jobs are created. Fitzner mentioned to NATDA that staffing has always been a pain-point due to not always being able to find the right people for the job.
So, who are the right people? Fitzner shared, “somebody with the required background and skills, but more so the willingness to show up to work. They need to be there every day and want to be there. We have good working conditions and we feel that it’s a good atmosphere”
Fitzner continued, “We’re interviewing every customer, asking if they know of anybody or almost silently interviewing them even. We’ve gained some employees that were customers looking for a trailer and we thought that they might be a good fit for Renville Sales Inc. Sometimes, it was short term and sometimes it’s been long term.”
Having the right people on the team can easily be considered a victory in and of itself, but a small business, no matter how big it seems, must shift with the times to allow for growth. Renville Sales Inc. has seen many changes in the industry since their start in 1991.
Fitzner told NATDA, “We relied so much on traditional paper ads and our geographical circle. Now the circle is unlimited with the Internet. My son was contacted by people looking for trailers from probably five different states in the last week. We ship stuff all over the nation with shipping partners that make it reasonable for people to ship.”
Coming with the shift to digital marketing, Fitzner saw an opportunity to adapt his family-owned business yet again. By making the right decisions with his inventory, Renville Sales Inc. has been able to increase their selection in certain areas to have product on hand for customers.
“Consumers are used to being able to get what they want right away or getting products shipped to them next day thanks to the internet. Thankfully, we can keep inventory on hand so when somebody comes in and they need a trailer right away, there is a good chance we are going to have what they need in stock,” Fitzner shared.
It’s easy to see that Renville Sales Inc. is built on a wholesome foundation. You can see it in the added layer of quality control that comes from their service department. You can see it in how current customers constantly refer new customers to Renville Sales Inc. or how Fitzner anticipated the needs of his customers and accommodated to the change in times effortlessly. It’s clear that Fitzner knows his customers and knows how to keep them happy.
“I think it’s important to take the time with each customer and ask the right questions. Not to oversell them but match them to the trailer that is going to get the most and best use for them. Customers are making a dollar commitment. There are expensive trailers out there, so they are making an investment. I think that they are relying on us to help them make that decision and make the right purchase,” Fitzner mentioned, kindly.
What’s on the horizon for Renville Sales Inc.? Working with PJ Trailers exclusively for flatbeds, Renville Sales Inc. is excited to enter 2020 with some new product. In addition to the diversity that PJ Trailers offers, Fitzner is also excited to bring new versions of the Stealth Nomad to the lot.