Radco Truck Accessory Center in Baxter made changes in its operation recently and is expanding the business footprint.
Aaron Baseman’s role changed from general manager of the Baxter store to regional manager, including locations in St. Cloud, Fargo, North Dakota, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a new location in Mandan, North Dakota, and additional locations that are coming in the future.
Baseman has been with the company for about 16 years, moving from the warehouse supervisor to store manager and general manager to his new role as regional manager. Baseman said he welcomes the opportunity to take on new challenges with the job schedule, travel and opening new stores. It’s been some time since the company expanded into new territory, which comes with all the typical details of setting up a store, hiring employees and setting up the inventory flow. All of which, Baseman said, has been a fun undertaking.
What Baseman does miss, he said, is the interaction with the store customers who have been so used to seeing him on the retail side. He’s nearby with the corporate offices on the other side of the building, but it is a change.
“I have so many repeat customers,” Baseman said, noting they’ve been asking what is going on now he is no longer as visible in the retail store. “That is hard to let go. I’ve had a really hard time separating.”
But Baseman’s move, means more opportunity for others. Radco -- which puts an emphasis on upward mobility and training staff members for larger roles in the company -- grooms future leaders.
“It’s good. They need to spread their wings and grow, too,” Baseman said of the chance it offers the employees he’s worked with and trained.
Blaine Bubalo has been with Radco since 2014 and started as an assistant manager when he was going to school for business management. He has worked as a detailer with The Bodyworks in Baxter and in a body shop, which he noted has been a great fit for his work at Radco.
“I enjoy this industry because we are the fun part of vehicles,” Bubalo said, noting not a lot of people enjoy bringing their vehicles in for repair, new tires or to get work done. “When people come here, they are excited to be here. They are excited about what we do. That just makes my day enjoyable. It’s fun.”
Now Bubalo oversees the retail store operations and the shop, taking the reins from Baseman.
“We’ve got a great team here,” Bubalo said. “It’s been fun to all help each other out. I really try to promote a team atmosphere. We all have different roles throughout the day, and we all do our job well, and we have fun, and we all get to have a job we love.”
Now Bubalo is able to increase his work as a mentor for his staff.
“Aaron’s always been a great mentor building me up to where I am and now the roles are kind of shifting, and I get to build our team up to have them hopefully one day take my shoes and have me go to the next level,” Bubalo said. “It’s really fun to see the progression as our team members grow with our company growing.”
Bubalo said it’s been important for the business to get to know customers and be involved in the community, noting he has customers who just call to check in and may not even talk about accessories. But those relationships are what businesses count on to lead to long-term interaction with customers coming back for years on end.
“It’s really fun to build those relationships with people,” Bubalo said.
Mike Lyscio is now in Bubalo’s former role as assistant manager and Dylan Clark moved from an installation technician to sales.
Lyscio, a former Brainerd police officer, recently joined the company and said he always enjoyed working with his own vehicle and appreciated Radco’s good reputation, so he knew he wanted to be part of that.
“I’ve just been able to build relationships with people like I did in law enforcement,” Lyscio said.
Bubalo said he knew Lyscio as a customer and knew he would be a good addition to the team.
“We all complement each other,” Bubalo said of skills.
Baseman said, “Even after all these years, it’s still fun for me. It’s fun to see the people come back, again and again. … They just put their trust in us, too, that’s the coolest part.”
Radco moved to the Baxter location from southeast Brainerd in 2012. Baseman said there are additional changes and growth ahead for the company.
“There are still opportunities ahead of us that we are working on now that are exciting, for here and all the Radcos,” Baseman said.
Radco employs about 18 out of Baxter and about 40 in the company with the potential for more jobs in Baxter as the company continues to grow and support other locations.
Radco is owned by Mills Automotive Group, which purchased the business a few years ago.
“That’s been a great fit for us, too, with the automotive industry, with their automotive background, with the involvement in the community and things like that -- that follows our previous core values and everything like that to a T,” Baseman said.