Celebrating 25 Years of Excellence in Trailer Sales
To celebrate Pinnacle Trailer Sales’ 25th Anniversary, we spoke with the company’s Leaders: President Brett Tanner; Vice President of Sales Paul Chaucer; Charleston General Manager Russell Martin; and Spartanburg General Manager Tripp Tanner. In this interview, they provide insight into how employees at Pinnacle live out the organization’s core values, what they enjoy about working at Pinnacle, and what they are looking forward to for the future of the company.
Timeline: From Modest Beginnings to Major Growth
Interview: How We Got Here
To celebrate Pinnacle Trailer Sales’ 25th Anniversary, we spoke with the company’s leaders: President Brett Tanner; Vice President of Sales Paul Chaucer; Charleston General Manager Russell Martin; and Spartanburg General Manager Tripp Tanner.
In this interview, they provide insight into how employees at Pinnacle live out the organization’s core values, what they enjoy about working at Pinnacle, and what they are looking forward to for the future of the company.
For Brett Tanner, Pinnacle Trailer Sales’ 25th anniversary represents extensive accomplishments. From its humble beginnings with one employee and a small office trailer to four locations and more than 80 employees. While he’s thrilled with the business growth through the decades, there’s another aspect of the anniversary that’s equally important to him.
“I’m proud of the fact that people have stayed with us through the process of our growth. I’m proud that we’ve built relationships with customers we’ve spent time with and watched their businesses grow and be successful. I’m proud of the longevity of our employees and seeing them grow to be better,” Brett said.
Paul Chaucer, vice president of sales, said Brett’s clear and focused vision for Pinnacle made him want to work for the company.
“What I enjoy most about working here is the people and the customers,” Paul said. “Every day, you’re dealing with someone different; and different situations. I enjoy the camaraderie between the people at work, from those in the shop to those in accounts. We’re like a large family.”
Paul added that it was Brett’s dedication to the business that set the stage for success.
“Our 25th anniversary has been a huge accomplishment to see how we’ve expanded from that first little office trailer with Brett’s vision,” Paul said. “It’s been wonderful watching the company grow to more than 80 employees. It’s been a magical, beautiful ride. I couldn’t ask for a better leader. He’s kind, he’s caring, and very driven. He makes everyone around him want to do the right thing. It’s just wonderful.”
The 25th anniversary of Pinnacle Trailer Sales is a celebration not only of a successful business, but also of the core principles that have enabled its accomplishments.
Pinnacle Trailer Sales: Embracing Core Values of Excellence
“You live with the values you grew up on,” Brett said. “I grew up in a small town in the mountains. We grew up with some simple things: You treat everybody the way you’d like to be treated, you work with integrity, you do what you say you’re going to do. I just thought that’s what everybody did. But as I got into business, I discovered that wasn’t necessarily the case. That’s why we put our core values on paper.”
He’s referring to the framed pictures you can find throughout the Pinnacle Trailer Sales office. They clearly outline the company’s values that are much more than mere words. These values are principles to live by.
Russell Martin, general manager of the Charleston office agreed and paused during his interview to point to one of these framed pictures that read:
“When you have a customer come up to you and they have a problem, and you’re able to help them find a solution, I feel like that’s just our duty: Doing what we say we’re going to do,” Russell said. “We’ve always lived by that and our core values.”
Brett continued to elaborate, emphasizing that these values form the framework of every customer interaction.
“Listening is important. If you will listen, your customers will tell you what they want. They tell you their problems—just do a good job of listening and you will always be successful,” Brett said. “Responsibility means if you make a mistake, you own up to it. People respect that. Whoever calls, or whoever we deal with, we treat them with respect.”
Centered on Customer Service
For Russell, who has worked at Pinnacle for 19 years, dedication means taking care of customers, from the larger businesses to the smaller “mom-and-pop” establishments that make up their clientele. That, combined with the variety every day brings, is what he enjoys most about working for Pinnacle Trailer Sales.
“Every day is going to be something different, whether it’s a new customer coming in or new equipment that you haven’t seen before. It’s something unique and different every day,” Russell said. “I know that can be a great challenge to try to meet the needs of their customers, providing what they need right here.”
Tripp, manager of Pinnacle’s Spartanburg location, said one of his most rewarding experiences was when he helped a client get the right trailer for the right haul. It meant going the extra mile to help this smaller business, and Tripp opened on Saturdays so the customer could get his trailer.
Later, Tripp witnessed this customer’s business expand to the point that he was able to employ several members of his extended family, truly creating the foundation of a family legacy. Pinnacle Trailer Sales was happy to be part of that growth.
“I tell people all the time, if we sell one trailer, that’s not our goal,” Tripp said. “Our goal is to develop a customer to come back for parts and service and anything they need. That’s where we’re going to have customers for life and I think when you have those repeat customers, they just talk to you like you’re their friend; because we are.”
Brett said this type of experience is common at Pinnacle Trailer Sales.
“We get a lot of stories like that, which is great,” Brett said. “We also have a customer who has grown with us from one truck to 25 trucks, and it’s rewarding to have been there for him during that time.”
Paul added that Pinnacle Trailer Sales taught him how to be attentive to the needs of every individual customer.
“I’ve learned over the years to be attentive to listen to everybody’s needs. Everybody’s different,” Paul said. “We’re dealing with all different types of people and so many different situations where you need to learn how people are thinking. You learn how to figure out people’s needs, and how you’re going to satisfy them.”
Tripp summarized that at Pinnacle, they are about giving the customer what they need—not about making a sale. Sometimes customers will come in wanting one thing, but after working with the Pinnacle team, they realize that something else would better serve their purpose. It’s all a part of their MVP assessment. Learn more by contacting Pinnacle Trailer Sales.
“We are truly a customer-focused business,” Brett said. “We try to live our mission statement, which is how can we help that customer be successful? Sometimes it’s just an answer, sometimes it’s working on their trailer, sometimes it’s renting them a trailer, sometimes it’s even talking them out of a trailer. It may be giving them a sounding board to talk about what they’re doing right now. What makes us different is our focus is not on selling—our focus is on meeting your needs and helping you be successful.”
Family Is the Core of Everything
Russell and Tripp recognize that stellar customer service is an integral part of pinnacle, but it all revolves around family.
This means the family of Pinnacle employees and customers.
“We’re doing this for our families too,” Tripp said. “We need to make sure we’re taking care of our family, and we have time for our family. This is a company that respects that balance. You always go the extra mile for clients, and you also recognize the importance of family.”
This also extends to helping clients be successful so they can take care of their own families. To do that, a reliable trailer is an indispensable part of the equation.
“If they have a small business and they’re down for a couple of weeks, they may be out of business so they’re not able to feed their families. If you want to be a company customers trust, you need to be able to work through tough problems and help people. I think that goes a long way,” Tripp said.
Pinnacle’s generosity extends far beyond their business. They donate on behalf of every employee to a non-profit or church of the employee’s choosing.
“Pinnacle gives a lot back to the community too, and I think that’s really wonderful,” Russell said.
What Does the Future Hold for Pinnacle Trailer Sales?
While Pinnacle Trailer Sales celebrates its past, its leadership is also looking forward to what the future brings.
what are Tripp and Russell looking forward to for the future of Pinnacle?
Tripp smiled. “Continuing to serve our customers and celebrating our 30th, 40th, and even 50th anniversaries.”
Paul is excited about continuing to expand and serve customers.
“I’m just looking forward to the continued growth and watching the younger people that we’ve brought into the company grow and how they handle situations and become more efficient and trained and acquire knowledge. I’m looking forward to how they take that knowledge and take care of our customers and continue that growth.”
Brett reflected upon how blessed he has been by the company’s growth and looks forward to more chances to expand.
“I’m looking forward to opportunities to grow into more coverage areas and opening a new location,” Brett said. “I’m excited about that, the opportunity to grow our business and give our employees the opportunity to grow as leaders. We’re very blessed to be where we are, and I have a lot of gratitude for where we’ve been and where we’re going. I’m also grateful for our vendors who have been great for our growth.”