SOMERSET, Ky.—Times sure have changed since 1956. But for the people of Somerset—several generations of them—one thing has stayed the same: Cooper Brother Citgo and U-Haul Dealership has been there when they’ve needed auto repair or to rent a U-Haul truck or trailer.
It all began in 1956 when brothers Roy and Elmer Cooper opened a Sinclair service station. Not long afterward, Standard Oil Company, impressed with the way the brothers did business, enticed them to join Standard’s business network.
Two business associations soon changed: the association with Sinclair Oil gave way to Citgo, and in 1959, Cooper Brother Citgo was awarded its U-Haul Dealership. Tim L. Cooper, Roy’s son and Elmer’s nephew, now operates the family-run business, which recently celebrated 55 years with U-Haul.
Signing on with U-Haul
“A U-Haul area field manager visited our service station and explained the benefits of becoming a U-Haul Dealer,” Tim Cooper reminisced. “My father immediately recognized the positives of associating with U-Haul, so he signed on. There weren’t many moving companies back then, and my dad knew that adding U-Haul equipment rentals to our operation would allow us to serve both do-it-yourself movers and people who needed repair work done on their personal vehicles.”
“There weren’t a lot of car washes back then either,” Tim explained. “So that was an additional service we provided to the community.”
The biggest change
Cooper became the sole owner/operator of Cooper Brother Citgo after his father passed away in May 2014. Clearly, Cooper has seen enormous changes in the way U-Haul serves the self-moving public.
“But I’d have to say that the biggest change has been the evolution of our truck product line,” Cooper observed. “Things really began to change in the late 80s and early 90s, when U-Haul trucks became more comfortable. So you could say the Company went from trucks seen simply as workhorses to vehicles that were designed with more attention paid to customers’ comfort and convenience.”
Service means success
In looking back over the years, Cooper stressed that the success of his dealership is rooted firmly in providing excellent customer service.
“That’s really the key,” he emphasized. “I’ve been successful because I tend to customers’ needs and try to stay ‘one step ahead’ in making sure they’re satisfied.”
What helps him do that is seeing the people he helps more as friends rather than one-half of a strictly business relationship.
“People respect that,” Cooper stressed. “They know I’ll always go the extra mile to make sure they’re happy when they leave with their equipment … or after they’ve dropped it off at the end of their rental.
“Also,” he continued, “I make a point of giving my time whenever it’s needed. It’s vitally important to my customers that I’m here for them, especially on weekends.”
“I have known Tim for many years, and his father before that,” noted U-Haul Company of Louisville President Chris Nester. “Not many people truly understand the honor there is in service, and what service is, but this family does!
“The communities and lives that this dealership has impacted through the attention to each individual is a credit that awards will never recognize,” Nester added. “We are all better off for having a dedicated family work ethic handed down over generations, shown now through Tim being included in the U-Haul family.”
Congratulations, Tim, on this amazing milestone!