Just nine years after U-Haul was founded, the Little Store and U-Haul Dealership in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, opened for business. Doyle “Chuck” Hayden became a U-Haul Dealer on December 4, 1954, and operated the store for 17 years before his new wife, Mary came onto the scene in 1971. Mary was quick to learn the ropes and start serving customers, and when Chuck retired in 1990, she kept the business and dealership going.
Since Anna Mary Carty Shoen, many women have helped shape U-Haul throughout the years. U-Haul Dealer Mary Hayden is one example. According to Marketing Company President (MCP) Jim Smith of UHC of Tulsa, Mary’s natural talent for customer service was her greatest asset. As her area field manager (AFM) at the time, Smith had nothing but rave reviews when she celebrated her 45th anniversary with U-Haul.
“She’s a great dealer, very customer oriented,” Smith praised in a March 2000 U-Haul News story. “She treats everyone like royalty.”
Putting the customer first
Mary knew that doing your absolute best for customers was the only way to keep them coming back.
“Providing excellent customer service is very, very important to our success,” Mary stated in a January 2005 U-Haul News story. “I will always go the extra mile to help my customers have a positive experience when they use U-Haul equipment.
“Moving is a very stressful time,” she added. “I want my customers to know I’ll be there for them. Specifically, I check to make sure that customers have good equipment when they leave my dealership.”
According to Smith, Mary’s customer-oriented approach and her use of the tools U-Haul provided was the key to her success.
“She believed in customer service all around, not just with her U-Haul customers, but with her primary business customers as well,” Smith declared. “She was adamant about serving the customer and didn’t let anything get in her way … not even her U-Haul Team. Her customers always came first.”
The perfect relationship
U-Haul products and services and a dealership’s primary business are a combination as natural as peanut butter and jelly. And, Mary was eager to applaud this mutually beneficial relationship.
In 2000, the Little Store and U-Haul Dealership was one of many convenience stores in town. But at the time, it was the only U-Haul Dealership. Over the years, her U-Haul business helped Mary get to know almost everyone in town.
“We’ve been a dealer here so long they automatically know where to go,” Mary explained. “I know everyone in town, and when they move into town I get to know them. And, it does help our business when U-Haul customers move into town; they come back and do business with us.”
Throughout her years with U-Haul, Mary was impressed with the support the Company provided and was excited about some of the new developments that happened during her career. Specifically, the launch of the Company’s website helped generate business for her dealership.
In October 2012, just two months shy of reaching 58 years as a U-Haul Dealership, the Little Store closed its doors for good when Mary retired.
“I can tell you that we were very sad to see her go,” Smith mentioned. “She was definitely Mrs. U-Haul in Okmulgee. There are no words for how much we respected and appreciated her.”
Do you have a local favorite U-Haul Dealer? What makes them stand out from the rest? Let us know in the comments.