Written by Brooke Williams, CES
ALEXANDRIA, Vir. — The newest City Electric Supply branch in Alexandria sits just outside of Washington D.C. and less than 10 miles from its bustling downtown area and just a stone’s throw from the new Amazon HQ2.
Branch Manager John Rodgers is sure the Alexandria branch is going to draw a lot of attention from the commercial, industrial, and residential markets located nearby.
When Rodgers started working for CES in 2002, he did not know where the opportunity was going to take him. For the next seven years, he helped open the Gaithersburg and Capitol Heights branches, and then he opened the Annapolis branch as the Branch Manager.
However, in 2009, he moved to the Richmond area for a better educational opportunity for his kids and began working elsewhere. Over the years, he knew something was missing, and that was the growth opportunities he enjoyed with CES.
Nearly a year ago, Rodgers heard from his son, Michael Rodgers, who is now the Operations Manager of CES Manassas in Virginia. District Manager Sam Morse let the word out that he was looking for a branch manager for the soon-to-be-open Alexandria branch.
“As soon as I heard, I reached out to Morse about the position and he gratefully extended the job to me,” Rodgers said.
To Rodgers, it felt like it took forever to open the branch. During his first week back, he and Morse spent the day looking for the right location.
“We looked at four different locations and settled on the third one we visited,” said Rodgers. “The best part of this location is that we are directly between three other industry suppliers — an HVAC company, a refrigeration company, and a builder.”
Once the branch location was secured, the general contractor and approvals from the county for the build-out were the next steps.
“Each day, as things were built and painting started moving along, we were getting closer and closer to an opening date,” said Rodgers. “I could barely wait for it to all be done.”
The day finally came when the final certificate opened, and Rodgers felt like a kid in a candy store.
“Having part of my team on staff and the ability to release orders and stock shelves was by far one of the best parts. A branch opening will always be exciting because you get to see it grow and change throughout every phase of the process,” he said. “When you finally see customers come in, when you finally see their faces surprised by what we have done in the branch, that’s certainly a special experience. The only thing that beats it is the chance to win their business and begin helping them.”
Although there are many reasons why the branch is unique, Rodgers loves having the ability to offer same-day delivery and the freedom to stock whatever their customers need. And with the location in the middle of an industrial park, the branch is growing its customer base and finding that a lot of HVAC customers are coming in on a regular basis and wanting to open an account. Specially stocking his branch with the products and supplies he needs isn’t something most distributors are willing to be flexible on.
“We are unique because of my team’s diversity and the fact that we are so customer-oriented,” stated Rodgers. “We want to make sure they have what they need and leave with a smile. Stocking my branch with the supplies our customers are looking for will only help us grow that business.”
Aside from the many reasons Rodgers loves working for CES, his main ones are the family-oriented culture and how CES cares about everyone, the joy of seeing his teammates help customers every day, the feeling of coming to work at CES every day, and seeing and feeling the accomplishments on the faces of his staff.
Combined with the 25 years of experience Rodgers brings to the table, his team has more than 20 years of experience in the industry. Each member of his team brings in a unique service aspect to the branch.
“My Operations Manager Samantha has previous management experience, which has been a huge help. No matter what happens, she is used to the day-to-day hustle and bustle, and her organization skills are off the charts. My Outside Sales Rep Brian is certified NAED Epic Gold, Silver, and Bronze through the National Association of Electrical Distributors. He can help anyone with any project, no matter how large or small. And last but not least, my driver, Jason, was in charge of the service work for 7-11 and wiring and installing ATMs. So, it’s nice to know that even if someone on his deliveries asks him a question, he’ll be able to help and has the experience to back it up.”
Rodgers is excited about this new adventure and knows this branch is going to be successful because of the customer-first attitude he and his branch staff share.