There aren’t many truckers in Minnesota and Upper Great Lakes region that don’t know Blaine Brothers.
The company has nearly 50 years of experience the trucking industry, and since its origins out of a Ford pickup truck to its current operations — four business entities, 11 total locations and more than 400 employees — Blaine Brothers has always been a company that thrives on word of mouth.
Once a customer knows Blaine Brothers, they really don’t need to know anyone else.
“We’re quite diverse in our product offering and we try to pay attention to the industry,” says second-generation owner and CEO Dean Dally.
Though Blaine Brothers doesn’t sell new medium- and heavy-duty trucks, they can do everything else. In addition to a $11.5 million parts inventory carried across its network, President Tim Grabow says Blaine Brothers also offers full service shop and roadside service, towing, new and used trailer sales, Capacity yard truck sales, truck alignment and hydraulic specialty production and repair.
Few distributors across North America offer more, but to hear Grabow and Dally tell it, the company’s voluminous offering has more to do with strong customer partnerships than anything else.
“Blaine Brothers has never been just about truck and trailer repair,” says Grabow. “We listen to our customers and try to fill the gaps in their business … . We try to be open minded where we can help and what we can do for them.”
Winner of the 2016 Trucks, Parts, Service Distributor of the Year Award and a finalist again for the fourth time (2014, 2015, 2016) in 2023, it is clear Blaine Brothers knows how to fill those customer gaps.
Grabow credits the company’s workforce for its growth success. Associates at Blaine Brothers are trained from their first day on the job to be open to all customer requests and needs. Grabow says Blaine Brothers can’t act on every customer idea every time, but by being open to suggestions and willing to consider about anything, the business never misses a chance to better support its customer base.
He also notes when a good idea is discovered, Blaine Brothers works quickly yet strategically to implement it in a way that maximizes its potential for success. “If we’re going to commit to something, we always make sure to hold up our end of the bargain,” he says.
The company’s growth helps sustain that practice too. Blaine Brothers has added more than 150 people and two locations to its operation since winning Distributor of the Year. It has a corporate structure that has been built to nimble and quick to evolve. Dally notes the company also is “about 9.5 years” through a detailed succession plan, which has added youth into its leadership ranks to position the company for continued future success.
Combined with a longstanding workforce culture that emphasizes community and cooperation, and prioritizes customer experience, Dally says Blaine Brothers has success in its markets because its people understand their customers lives and needs.
“We work very hard at having a good work environment,” he says. “We want to be a place where people can work hard, feel productive, add good ideas and be heard. [Success] is about the team as a whole. We want everyone in the organization wanting the same thing.”
Customers take note of that culture.
“A couple weeks ago — this happens fairly often — we had a person who didn’t know us come in and say, ‘A friend of a friend told me to stop in here for service because your team had taken such good care of him,’” says Dally. “We didn’t know that individual before that day, but he left feeling quite pleased with the service we offered him.”
And with locations from North Dakota’s oil fields to central Wisconsin, Blaine Brothers has a large customer base regularly providing those types of referrals. Grabow says the company loves the leads and is eager to continue earning new customers.
“If you have a truck or a trailer, we want to be your repair shop,” he says.
The 2023 Distributor of the Year program is sponsored by Commercial Vehicle Solutions Network (CVSN), Cummins-Meritor, High Bar Brands, Interstate Billing Service and Karmak. The Distributor of the Year Award will presented in January at Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW). For more on our 2023 award finalists, check back in the coming days or go to our program website.