Oklahoma City Expansion

Central States Thermo King Builds New Shop January, Central States Thermo King will complete its move of truck and trailer service and installation operations to its new location in Oklahoma City. The new dealership will provide easier access from the Kilpatrick Turnpike, soon to connect near the Central States site at Interstate 40 and Morgan Road.

Central States held a grand opening November 10. Activities included a ribbon cutting, Las Vegas-style games, a moon bounce for kids, and the services of nationally acclaimed caricature artist, Patrick Riley.

About 300 people attended the event, including Thermo King customers, suppliers, and employees. Participants included Jack Coronet, city councilman representing Ward 3 of Oklahoma City; Ronnie Kahn, Walt Thomas, and Allen Lane, co-owners of Central States Thermo King; Mike Nelson, Central States Thermo King general manager of the Oklahoma City and Wichita branches; and members of the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.

Besides providing easier access to Thermo King services, the new Central States location will offer expanded services, says Pat Pike, director of marketing for Central States in Oklahoma City. Cost of construction was estimated at $3.3 million. The general contractor is Pinion Construction.

"We are more than doubling the size of our old shop, from eight bays to 18," she says. "Besides providing full Thermo King service and repair, the new shop also will have parts and service for RVs (recreational vehicles)."

The Central States Oklahoma City dealership has 51 employees and plans to hire an additional 10 workers by April 2001, Pike says. The expanded shop will handle services in addition to refrigeration unit installation and repair. These will include trailer repair and rebuild, and truck frame and axle repair.

"We also will offer 24-hour emergency road service using Thermo King Uptime mobile service trucks," Pike says.

The key to success of Central States is the quality of its employees, adds Lane. "Each Central States location offers refrigeration unit sales, service, and parts. Besides these standard services, each location provides products and services to meet the specialized needs of the trade area."

In addition to the Oklahoma City and Wichita dealerships, Central States operates others in St Louis and Kansas City, Kansas, where the company has its headquarters. Central States also operates satellite locations in Salina, Dodge City, and Garden City, Kansas, and in Guymon, Oklahoma.

In 1995, Central States built a new facility in St Louis. Centrally located near St Louis' Gateway Arch, the shop replaced the original St Louis dealership with an 18,000-sq-ft shop, more than double the 8,000 sq ft in the old facility.

As was the case in the St Louis expansion, Central States built the new shop in Oklahoma City because it had reached a point where it needed to expand along with its customers, Lane says. For example, at the Kansas City location, Central States specializes in providing small engine and generator repair, he says. Mechanics service mobile heating and air-conditioning systems for on- and off-highway vehicles. The parts department supplies OEM and aftermarket parts for these systems.

Trailer repair is a specialty at both the Oklahoma City and Wichita dealerships where they will pick up equipment from the customer for trailer and unit repair and service. "We offer customers one-stop shopping," Lane says.

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