Herbert P. Sears Co., Inc.

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Herbert P. Sears Co., Inc.

Profile appeared in our 29-1 Issue – April 2012

Eighty-four years ago, Herbert P. Sears went from being a credit manager with Standard Oil to running his own collection and credit firm company. The times were much different back in 1928, and he may have never foreseen his venture surviving and transforming to remain current as time passed. With World War II raging, Sears started the company by basically working without pay for two years. When the war finally ended, however, the business began to flourish, and has been thriving since.

The war wasn’t the only thing that brought revisions to the business. In 1941, Sears combined his business with the Merchant Bureau. Herbert’s son, Jim, took over the leadership role for both companies in 1962 and relocated the business to 2000 18th Street, where it is currently located. Things were run as such until 2009, when the next big shift took place.

Enter Patrick Collins, a new CEO to the company, hired by the Sears family to give the company an “extreme business makeover” while considering potential sales opportunities. Jim was no longer involved in the operations of the business at this point, and the family was busy determining what the future held for H.P. Sears. They came to the agreement to sell the company to Collins and his wife, Terri, and the sale was consummated in January of 2010. The extreme makeover was just getting started!

Original Credit Center building at 1712 K St.

The foundation and strategy developed by Collins included several key elements, all designed with a focus to improve their client’s cash flow and achieve a “best practices” standard for the collection industry. Improving technology, enhancing marketing materials (including a new logo, though the “credit cops” certainly were iconic, and a significantly improved website), a very aggressive training program, a new operations manager, Chris Thompson, and reconnecting with their industry associations were all important parts of reshaping H.P. Sears as a whole.

This effort has provided the company with an outstanding foundation to continue and build the results for their clients and the success of their business. The investment in the platform has allowed them to not only serve their clients better, but to diversify the nature of their business in a variety of areas. They have grown the client types to include debt buyers and franchise clients. As they develop their medical and credit card business, their services include collections for clients and portfolios throughout California, Texas, and Florida.

At their roots, they are a Bakersfield and Kern County business with a wide variety of local clients – they are just expanding upon that effort. They remain committed to their community and are active in a wide variety of charitable and support activities, including downtown rotary, advisory boards for CSU, Mid State, and SBDC boards, and are chamber members. Terri is the immediate past president of the Junior League of Bakersfield, and active in the real estate industry with Watson Realty ERA. They continue to explore other opportunities to support their community.

The focus 84 years ago was to provide a professional service to business. With their redefined focus on a client-driven strategy, they look forward to continuing that effort, and are incredibly excited about the opportunities to come.

© 2011 - Bakersfield Magazine Inc.
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