The first few months of 2020 have been busy for Clark Service Group. The Pennsylvania-based service agent kicked off the year by hiring its first-ever corporate trainer and followed that up a few weeks later by acquiring Georgia-based Pierce Parts and Service. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Pierce Parts and Service has two branches, including its corporate headquarters in Macon and a satellite office in the Atlanta suburb of Forest Park. As part of the deal, all employees of Pierce Parts and Service, including the 15 technicians and former company president Joe Pierce, are expected to remain with the business. Pierce will assume more of a regional manager role, overseeing both Georgia locations, making sure the day to day operations run smoothly. He will also look for ways into introduce his operations into Clark Service Group’s existing customer relationships. “I can now focus on growing the business and working with those customers to provide them with the best in class resources they deserve,” Pierce said. “I still feel I have a lot of years left and Glenn is giving me the chance to do what I do well and that is communicate with the customers and maintain those relationships.”
As of now, the Georgia-based operations will go to market as Clark Service Group doing business as Pierce Parts and Service. Within the next three to six months, though, the company will drop the name Pierce Parts and Service and go to market strictly as Clark Service Group. “We have some internal logistics workout, including some software-related items, to bring Pierce on board. But eventually we want to get everything under the same brand name,” said Glenn Clark Jr., president of Clark Service Group.
This is not the first foray outside of Pennsylvania for Clark Service Group. The company operates locations in Baltimore and Tampa, Fla., in addition to the ones in Lancaster, State College, Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Just as opening the previous branch locations are part of Clark Service Group’s growth strategy, so, too, is the Pierce acquisition. “We are doing more chain work and they are pushing out our growth,” Clark said. “A lot of the feedback I get from facilities managers is that they don’t want national service companies but regional ones that can take care of certain areas for the company.”
Chain accounts represents an important business segment for Pierce, too. “Our company has a lot of relationships with chain accounts and manufacturers, too,” Pierce added. “So, we support each other well in that regard.”
Geographically, the move makes sense, too, Clark said. “Everything I research in the industry says the growth will come from toward the south. You can’t rest on your laurels or the industry will pass you by. So, you have to find those opportunities to grow and evolve. Business philosophy wise and culturally, we are a good fit. So, it makes sense to decrease that gap between our operations in the north and our operations in the south.”
Naturally, both Pierce and Clark see synergies that go beyond chain business. “We both focus on making sure the customer is taken care of as best we can. Employees are our most important asset and they help us grow,” Clark added. “Both companies are CFESA certified. We both believe in that certification and feel it helps us recruit and retain techs.”
Added Pierce, “The customer is the one who signs our pay checks so if we take care of them, they will take care of us. That philosophy has served us well for 41 years. Our companies align quite well from a cultural perspective.”
In fact, both companies are already learning from one another about how to approach different parts of running the business. “These businesses are starting to complement each other when it comes to best practices,” Clark said.