15-year-old Jason Johnson saw working at Tri-State Truck Wash as nothing more than a part-time job. His mother, Janice Hoefker, had just began working as a general manager for the business as the current owners were working to expand into North Dakota. Janice operated the business for over 15 years until purchasing it as her own in 2001. Now working full-time at Tri-State Truck Wash, Jason found himself running the business alongside his mom until eventually deciding to continue the family legacy and take over the business from her in 2018. Before he knew it, Jason’s high school part-time job had turned into a lifelong career and business of his own.
“Because my mother and I had been running the business together for close to 20 years, I knew all the ins and outs. When she was looking to sell it and retire, I saw it as a great opportunity to continue to provide for the business and our employees. It just made sense.”
Tri-State Truck Wash provides all the clean-out, storage, and responsibility for refrigerated trailers that come from the local packing plant located in Worthington, MN. Because they have been in business for over 40 years, Jason wanted to maintain that high quality service and be sure the ownership transition was as smooth as possible. It was at this time that his banker introduced him to Prairieland EDC and the SBA 504 loan program to help him with this next business venture. “We knew there were a lot of programs and resources out there to help small business owners, but the SBA 504 loan program was new to us,” explained Jason. “Prairieland EDC was able to help us through the process and secure a lower interest rate, which provided significant savings and preserved our cash flow during this transition.” Jason used the SBA 504 loan program purchase the real estate, take over the business, and preserve the legacy his mom had fueled.
Since then, Tri-State Truck Wash has continued to thrive. Today, they proudly service over 100 trailers per day, averaging a total of 300,000 trailers per year. Tri-State Truck Wash works long hours in order to provide their service when needed. They have been able to hire two additional full-time staff to staff those hours, as well as provide more time off to their many long-term employees.
Over the 30+ years that Jason has been at Tri-State Truck Wash, the most rewarding aspect for him has been the opportunity to provide for others. “Tri-State Truck Wash has provided a great life for my family and for my employees. We work to provide the best service to our customers, and we strive to be as good as we can. It’s rewarding to know that we can provide for others and their needs.”
For those who are looking to start or expand their own business, Jason had just one piece of advice: ask for help.
“There are so many programs and people out there who are willing to help business owners succeed and grow. If you plan to go into business or need funding, search out for opportunities like the SBA 504 loan program. It can make the world of a difference.”