CES Dunn: The Right People in the Right Town
When District Manager Joey Barefoot relocated an existing branch and opened up CES Dunn, it was not a normal move. They didn’t open up a new location right down the street; they opened it up in a new town.
“It came down to having the right people to make this move possible,” Joey said. “We had the right people for Dunn, North Carolina, and that’s who it’s really about.”
The list of right people starts with Branch Manager Brent Jackson. He worked as a senior sales rep at Graybar for 25 years before coming to City Electric Supply and running his first branch at CES Sanford.
Oh, and Dunn just so happens to be both Barefoot and Jackson’s hometown, so when Joey told him he had a chance to come home, he jumped at the opportunity.
“Most of the customers and people who still live here I went to school with,” Jackson said. “I get to service people I know in the town that I love. We have a new agenda here called Imagine Dunn. To join that initiative and help this town grow for years to come — I’m excited to be a part of that.”
To hear it from the community, they’re excited to welcome a new electrical supplier in Dunn that has ties to the area. Brent Jackson isn’t the only hometown hero who grew up here.
“The team is all local guys,” Jackson said. “That means a lot to the community. Everything in our industry is based on relationships and trust. If someone trusts you, they’ll give you their business.”
“We really picked the right team with Brad Long, Ryan Roy, and Chris Johnson,” he added. “Across this team, we have a combined 71 years of experience. That’ll go a long way to delivering results and building trust with our customers.”
And the town has already thrown their support and trust behind CES Dunn, too. The owner of the local appliance store heard their local electrical supplier needed a new fridge, and they got a new fridge.
“Our fridge broke during the move,” Jackson laughed. “The owner of the appliance store came in and had to buy a few supplies. He was so happy to see us help local businesses that he gave us a fridge. He said since you’re moving into town, we’ll just donate it to you.”
“People in this town take care of us, and we’ll take care of them,” he smiled.
Big Service in a Small Town
And CES Dunn is in a perfect spot to take care of everyone. No, really. Everyone.
There are only about 10,000 people in the town, so for CES Dunn, the sky’s the limit. There aren’t many competitors, which means the diverse mix of residential, commercial, and industrial customers are theirs for the taking.
“These guys hit the ground running,” District Manager Joey said. “In our first month, we were 72% over last year’s sales based on the location we moved from. You don’t see that very often.”
Those results are probably thanks to what Jackson calls his “Rule of A.”
“Most contractors have a set list of their A items,” Jackson said. “Those A items are what they need all the time. So far, we’ve had all A items in-stock already.”
Most times, the customers don’t even expect them to have their set of A items. But they do.
“Plenty of customers come in and say I can’t believe you have this, I can’t believe you have that,” he said. “We spent a lot of nights and weekends planning our inventory, so it’s music to our ears hearing customers say that.”
“The best part is that we haven’t even tapped into our full potential,” Jackson added. “We’re doing good, but we can still do better. Our ultimate goal is to be the #1 branch in the district.”
Like Joey mentioned before, it all comes down to having the right people and leadership.
“Brent Jackson is a very strong branch manager who’s great at guiding his team,” he said. “They’ve only been together for 90 days, but it feels like they’ve worked together for 10–20 years. As soon as you walk in, you can feel the excitement in the building.”
That’s partly why Jackson came to CES in the first place. He wanted to lead a team, a chance he wasn’t given at Graybar as a senior sales rep.
“Graybar was great to work for, but I wanted to do more than just sell every day,” Jackson said. “I wanted a chance to mold people, to help them grow, bring them up to where I was at already in the business. With 25 years in the industry, I have a lot to teach these guys.”
It’s easy to see why Joey did everything he could to bring him in.
“The first time I met him, I knew I had to hire him,” he said. “Brent brings so much to the table with his attitude and personality alone.”
And it’s not just Jackson who brings so much to the table. It’s also the location that will bring success to this electrical distributor in Dunn.
“CES Dunn bridges a gap in our district,” Joey said. “We were supplying this town from our surrounding branches, but there’s nothing quite like actually being there in the community yourself and building relationships over the counter.”
Thankful for CES Dunn
Speaking of counter business, the team at CES Dunn has heard only good things from their customers.
“Everyone comes in and just talks about how great the place looks,” Jackson said. “Contractors and local business owners thank us every day for coming to Dunn. They’ve never had anybody like CES here before.”
How many times do the customers give thanks? A lot more than you’d think.
“We get at least five or six thank-yous every day,” Jackson laughed. “It’s mind-blowing to me. It feels good to know you’re the only place in town that’s here to service customers. We’ve done all this hard work, and everyone’s thankful for it.”
“That’s the main reason we’re happy to be here,” he explained. “Everyone’s excited because we’re helping the town succeed and achieve their goals as well. We’re not just here to sell electrical supplies.”
But they’re also there to do that, too.
CES Dunn might’ve just moved to their new town, but we’re sure they’re going to have a lot more thank-yous coming their way.