Klein Tools Blitz: For the Belt
Every year in October, branches in Wisconsin, Chicago West, Chicago, and Northern Indiana battle it out for the title of the top-selling branch. If you’re the top branch at the end of the annual Klein Tools Sales Blitz Day, you don’t just get some bragging rights. You get a championship belt to prove it.
For CES La Porte, it meant a whole lot more than that.
A True Underdog Story
“I didn’t think we stood a chance,” said Brian Vergin, Branch Manager of CES La Porte.
If you need a true underdog story, this is the one. It features a young, up-and-coming branch in CES La Porte, a defending champion in CES Valparaiso, and one big belt for all the marbles.
The only thing standing in CES La Porte’s way? Defeating every single branch across four districts in the annual Klein Tools Blitz, including the defending champs in their very own district. That’s a big challenge for a branch that hadn’t even been open for a full year yet.
“We did have a lot working for us,” said Vergin. “Klein Tools wasn’t sold by supply houses in the area, so when we opened up, customers got really excited. Klein Tools was coming back, and we had a really good deal on all their tools to help kick it off.”
What was the deal? Just 20% off all Klein Tools products, plus even more special pricing on the day of the event.
Brian Vergin says that Klein Tools can sell itself. But that didn’t stop him and his branch from doing everything they could to promote this one-day, special event.
“We were really surprised to see the turnout,” he said. “I’m really proud to see that the way we approached it paid off. We made phone calls, we made sales calls, we sent emails, we did everything we could to get the word out.”
And to the shock of just about everyone — including Northern Indiana District Manager Jeff Williamson — CES La Porte carried that momentum to the top of the leaderboard.
“A lot of branches they went up against have been around for 15 years,” Williamson said. “CES LA Porte hadn’t even been around for 15 months.”
The Championship Team
All throughout the Klein Tools Blitz, Vergin learned a lot about his team. He learned that they could handle anything, and he learned that they don’t back down from a challenge.
“On regular days, we’re one of the busiest counters,” he said. “But all day long, we had customers in and out of the branch. I’ve worked counter sales in this area for 20 years, I’ve never seen counter traffic like this.”
He went on, praising his team.
“They were calm through everything, helping customers, answering questions, ringing up sales. Our atmosphere is exciting, and it’s thanks to the team we have in place.”
District Manager Jeff Williamson feels the same, offering praise that goes way beyond just one day of sales.
“First off, I’m most proud of CES La Porte for creating so much business in their first year,” he said. “They didn’t just have an awesome Klein Tools Blitz; they had an awesome year. It’s a testament to their attitude, work ethic, and their culture. They stepped in and started working as a team and with other branches. They’re becoming a big part of our growth out here.”
This is the sort of thing that has been said about CES La Porte since, well, day one. All throughout their first year, reps for Klein Tools and even Milwaukee Tool have said that with this team, they have some of their best, most exciting counter days they’ve ever seen from any supply house.
“The branch puts in a lot of effort in their tool sales, and it shows,” Williamson said. “The biggest thing about these Klein Blitz Days is building our partnership with vendors and relationships with customers. CES La Porte was on board from day one.”
Do It for the Belt. Again.
Can CES La Porte repeat? Time will tell.
CES Valparaiso went down as defending champs in 2020, but it was close, and Branch Manager Frank Farkas already has some tricks up his sleeve for 2021.
“We’re glad the belt stayed in our district,” Farkas admitted, “but we’ve been planning some ideas behind the scenes. I’m sure we’ll talk about them next year when we win.”
Speaking of next year, Vergin and his team knows how hard it’ll be to do this again after the record-setting performance they just had.
“It’ll definitely be tougher next year,” Branch Manager Vergin said. “There’s some stiff competition even in our own district, but that’s what we all like. We like a challenge; we like the competition.”
For District Manager Williamson, he can’t wait to find out, too.
“What’s exciting is that this is their first year and they won the Klein Tools Blitz. It’s an exciting start to their future, and it shows we have a lot of potential for growth in La Porte and Northern Indiana.”
To shut the record book on their win, Vergin issued a challenge to the rest of the branches in the district.
“We’re looking to repeat.”