Mujer de Acero: The Woman of Steel
Customer Spotlight: Anne Lancaster & Her Custom Kenworth
Southeast region franchise owner, Anne Lancaster has worked in several different capacities in her 14 years with Snap-on Tools. Based out of the Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida area, she started as a corporate store, ran a Rock N Roll Cab Express, served as a trainer, a sales developer and ultimately a franchise owner. All of this experience would prove to be vital in the design of her first custom truck, which we will go into more detail in just a bit.
When she decided to go out on the road for herself, she bought her first franchise in the Miami area and worked out of a 20-foot Freightliner MT-55 walk-in van. Anne rented an apartment in Miami to stay at during the week and made the four hour drive back home on weekends.
But ultimately, she wanted to own a route closer to home.
“I got my start here (in Tampa/St. Petersburg) eight to ten years ago. These were my first customers. They all remember me. And now I’m back,” said Lancaster.
Creating the Ultimate
When a route became available in her home town of St. Petersburg, Florida, she knew she had to buy it. She sold the route in Miami along with the program van which created a need for a new truck. This was a great opportunity to create the ultimate store for her business based on her history and experience in the field. The finished 22-foot Kenworth you see here is a collaboration between Anne and LDV Sales Specialist, Collin Gibbons.
“This truck had to suit my customers’ needs in this new route and location. Miami customers had different needs than these customers. Collin and I designed the truck with that in mind,” Anne told us.
LDV’s Collin, was ultimately a solution provider. Anne told him she wanted something in the new truck and Collin got to work to make it happen. She noted there was never a time when he told her something couldn’t be done.
“Collin was a great resource for designing this truck from the ground up. Several times I told him I wanted or needed something and he would come up with a way to make it work. It was a lot of fun designing the truck and never stressful.”
One key feature the truck had to have are the exterior storage boxes. These allow her to display certain items like socks, but keep the overstock in one of the outside boxes.
“I’ll have customers come on the truck and say they want 12 pairs of socks. No problem. I ring him up and then we can grab them from the overstock outside in the exterior storage box,” Lancaster says.
Another creative solution are the display pages. She never sold a lot of hand tools out of the program van because many were strapped to the ceiling making them tough for customers to see or pull down. Now she has a dedicated area for them and sales are up. Way up. LDV’s Fab Shop created the custom handles using genuine Snap-on hand tools that had tabs welded to them and were powder coated.
“The display pages were a necessity. Anne told me that she needed a better way to display hand tools for her customers and we came up with these. Now there is a dedicated, easy to use area for hand tools and it looks great,” said Sales Specialist, Collin Gibbons.
It’s hard to call out all of the cool features in her truck, but some of her favorites include the exterior audio, bright LED scene lights, Dura-Black Alcoas® and the lockable box in the cab dome.
“When I get to a stop, I turn the music on outside. Customers hear it as they walk up and it gets them excited and ready to shop. It’s all about creating a good experience for them before they enter the store,” Anne said.
Anne also insisted early on that she didn’t want a cash drawer. Collin and Anne came up with the lockable compartment tucked up into the dome of the cab. It is secluded and out of sight; perfect for stowing her personal items and cash.
Support Like No Other
We ask all of our customers during these interviews if they considered any other tool truck manufacturers before buying from us. She cut us off mid question with her response:
“No way. Never considered buying from anyone else. I’ve known Bob (Kawalec) since 2007 and between him and how LDV supports all of us out there, there is no reason to look anyplace else. LDV is always there to help us when we need it to keep us out there working. It is a lot like Snap-on in that we both value the service. It is a prized possession,” Anne said.