Grand Haven Tribune: Bekins in good hands as founder retires

Bekins in good hands as founder retires

Krystle Wagner • Jul 22, 2015 at 12:26 PM

Harvey Bekins started Bekins Appliance Repair in Oct. 1975 to provide in-house repair services for all major appliances.

Forty years later, Bekins is retiring from a business that continues to grow at a rapid pace.

Keeping an eye on details and day-to-day customer interactions is part of what current owner Scott Bekins attributes to the business’ success.

Nearly every year since the Grand Haven store opened, business and staffing levels have grown, Scott Bekins said. Overall, Bekins has experienced about a 60 percent increase in business.

The increase in sales prompted the local business to build a nearly 36,000 square-foot distribution and service center in Coopersville. Aside fom being centrally located, Bekins said they wanted to be mindful of their employees and commutes.

The new distribution center is located between the Grand Haven store, 735 Washington Ave., and the Grand Rapids location, 6275 28th St. SE.

In 2010, the company had 42 employees. That number has grown to 88 employees today, with an additional 15 positions still to be filled. Scott Bekins said staff “dramatically increased” in preparation for opening the Grand Rapids store back in 2012.

After developing working relationships with businesses in the Grand Rapids area and receiving client referrals, Bekins said the company was missing out on a client base that didn’t drive to Grand Haven.

While Grand Haven remains an important hub — and the location of Scott Bekins’ main office — he said the Grand Rapids location helped them capture more referrals.

As the business grows, Bekins said they maintain a passion to be excellent at the little things.

“It’s the small stuff that makes you big,” he said.

The Coopersville facility has also provided the company with the room and ability to focus more on green efforts. About 90 percent of packing material is recycled, and 100 percent of old appliances are recycled.

A room in the new building is also dedicated for collaboration and training for the technical workforce.

Each month, the entire staff gathers for a meeting. It gives staff – in Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, and Coopersville – a chance to see each other and keep everyone on the same page, Bekins said.

Throughout the week, employees also go through various trainings specific to their department. The training facility aspect is one of Bekins’ favorite parts of the building.

The company’s goal is to provide customer service to leave people saying, “wow” and share their experience with other people. Bekins said success is about details, hard work, and smart working.

“People look for a magical formula, and there isn’t one in business,” he said.

As Bekins reflected on the company’s continued success, he said it’s an example that hard and smart work pays off.

“You can be successful if you work hard for it,” Bekins said.

In the coming months, Bekins will open a new Grand Rapids store. Although the specifics of the store remain a secret, it’s slated to focus on electronics.

As the business looks toward the future, Bekins said they want their service to improve as the business grows.

“We will focus every day to do the little things right,” he said.

As the local appliance and repair store celebrates its 40th year of business and growing business, they also celebrate Harvey’s retirement.

Harvey, 81, and his wife, Barbara, are longtime Grand Haven residents. During his retirement, Harvey plans to farm and spend time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Bekins is celebrating Harvey’s retirement with an open house from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, July 20. There will be breakfast treats followed by a barbeque in the morning. There will also be cake and a drawing for a Wolf countertop convection oven at 5 p.m.

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