Ballard Truck Center. 4 Locations. Family Owned. Reliable Service.
Can you believe our family has been in business for over 100 years? Back in 1906, we opened our first store; a local garage shop named “L.H Ballard Garage” known for its reliable services. Over time, we’ve managed to grow our small garage business into 4 dealerships covering all of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Eastern Connecticut. As a family owned business, we believe the reason we have been able to expand is due to our forward thinking and the ability to maintain our ethics.
Today, we still operate our truck centers the same way we operated L H Ballard’s Garage:
- Always do what is fair and honest
- Treat our employees and customers like family
- A relaxed work environment makes for a fun day and satisfied customers
These 3 Ballard Golden Rules help us maintain a happy staff and an even happier customer base. However, what truly sets us apart from our competitors is the experience you receive upon walking into our stores. At Ballard Truck Center, you can expect a real family owned experience each and every time you visit.
Our traditional values have certainly stayed the same but we’ve experienced quiet a bit of change throughout the centuries. Take a look back at our timeline to see how we’ve transitioned into The Most Reliable Commercial Truck Dealer in New England.
1906: Ballard Truck Center started as a blacksmith shop shortly after the turn of the century.
Louie Ballard (the man who started it all) was a blacksmith and carriage maker by trade. In 1906, he ran a small repair shop for carriages and fixed various household items. Eventually, the birth of the automobile created a demand for automotive repairs and blacksmith work slowly declined. Louie had to act quickly and the shop eventually turn into a garage, coined L.H Ballard’s Garage or as the locals would say the “Ballard’s”!
Louie Ballard’s son (Harold Ballard) would regularly assist his father at work and eventually became his assistant.
The repair of springs, leaves, axles and body work slowly moved Ballard out of the carriage trade and into the more lucrative auto repair field. Manual pumps for tires, replaced the old bellows used to force the forge and suddenly Louie found himself running one of the best repair shops in town!
Memorable moment: The Ballard family maintained success and began adding small repairs to their garage.
1922: At this point in time, the pace was slow but Louie still managed to employee three mechanics full-time! With a little bit of faith, the demand for automobile repair service began to grow rapidly and business began to pick up again.
Ballard’s garage was the first automobile repair shop between Worcester, Massachusetts and Blackstone, Massachusetts; a distance of more than 40 miles. Each year, more and more automobiles were put on the road and business started to BOOM!
Louie began to gather so much business that he added sales to his resume. The first cars sold by the Ballard’s were Fords followed by Chevy!
1928: L.H Ballard’s Garage officially opened a car dealership and Ballard Motor Sales became a Chrysler agency.
1934: By this time, 7 mechanics were working full time at Ballard and business was strong.
Memorable moment: The Ballard’s transitioned into sales before World War I.
1940: Plymouth was added to the Chrysler line. At this period in time, cars were delivered to the dealership without most of the items vehicles are equipped with today. Back then, dealers would have to attach this equipment plus all other accessories requested by the customer. (some of these items included L acetylene, gas lights, windshields and bumpers)
Harold Ballard (Louie Ballard’s son) began working full-time for his father at the dealership.
1941 – 1944: “The War Years” Ballard still managed to maintain 3 full-time service shifts and worked around the clock to keep aging equipment rolling.
1948: The Ballard sales and service area had grown to be one of the best known and best equipped automobile agencies in Central Massachusetts.
Harold Ballard (Louie Ballard’s son) and his wife, Minnie Ballard began to take ownership of the dealership.
1951: Harold and Minnie Ballard receive a The Chrysler Medal of Merit Award from Chrysler for their dealerships top notch performance.
1956: Janet Grahn (our former CFO and the niece of Minnie & Harold Ballard) learned how to drive in the back of the shop on this year!
By 1960: Over 10 mechanics are employed at Ballard Motor Sales. The Ballard’s had built a strong reputation and about 40-50% of their overall business was through referrals. This caused some people to take notice and they were even asked to be featured in the local newspaper.
In May 1960: An article, “Business Built on Repeat Sales: Steady Growth Marks Ballard’s Success Story,” is published about Ballard Motor Sales and their successful business practices. Our favorite quote from the article is from Harold Ballard because it rings just as true today, as it did over 60 years ago. “What made your business so successful? Ballard replied- “Honest sales and service, plus hard work.”
Throughout the 1960’s & 1970’s, Ballard Motor Sales continues to maintain steady sales in the market and business thrives!
1980 – 1999
1981: Janet Grahn (the niece of Harold and Minnie Ballard) begins working for Ballard Motor Sales.
1982: John Picking (Janet Grahn’s nephew) and Bob Picking (John Picking’s dad) begin working at Ballard Motor Sales.
1988: The next generation purchases a Mack dealership in Worcester, Massachusetts. Steve Grahn (Janet Grahn’s son) begins working at Ballard’s 1st Mack dealership.
1990’s: Throughout the 1990’s, The 3rd and 4th Ballard generation worked hard to transition from the car business into the commercial trucking industry. Trading in Light Duty vehicle sales for Heavy Duty sales while adding a variety of services along the way.
1999: Ballard Mack’s name is officially changed to Ballard Truck Center.
2001 – Present Day
2001: In July of 2001, another Ballard Truck Center is built in Johnston, Rhode Island.
2007: Was a BIG year for us! Ballard Truck Center was named Dealer of the Year as well as The Northeast Dealer of the Year! This was also the year, Samantha Grahn (Steven Grahn’s daughter) begins working for Ballard Truck Center of Worcester.
2008: Our third location is added in West Springfield, Massachusetts. Ballard adds two new Medium Duty trucks to their product line and begins selling Hino & Mitsubishi-Fuso.
2011: Our fourth location is added in Avon, Massachusetts. At the same time, Ballard adds another Heavy Duty truck to their product line and begins selling Volvo trucks.
2012: Ballard Truck Center opens Ballard Truck Leasing offering a variety of trucks to lease and rent.
This is also the year, Robert Picking (John Picking’s son) begins working for Ballard Truck Center of Worcester.
2014: By now, there are 4 locations that cover all of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Eastern Connecticut. Our truck brand lines include Mack, Volvo, Isuzu, Hino and Fuso. We offer sales, service, parts, leasing, finance and rentals for a variety of brands on the market; specializing in all makes and models.
2015: Ballard Truck Center changes their slogan from “Experience The Difference” to “4 Locations. Family Owned. Reliable Service.” to better suit their brand.
2015: Ballard hosted their 1st Annual Golf Tournament to show appreciation for their customers.
2016: In May 2016: Ballard Truck Center wins The Worcester Business Journal’s Family Business Award in the large business category.
2016: In August 2016: Ballard Truck Center of Worcester expanded their Medium Duty product line and adds Isuzu trucks; offering Isuzu sales, parts, service, leasing and rentals.
2017: In September 2017: Ballard Truck Center was featured in Business View Magazine.