Monday, November 24, 2008

One man to blame for Denny Hecker woes

For those unfamiliar with the name Denny Hecker, he is a Twin Cities area automotive selling giant. For those who do know the Denny Hecker name, you'll recognize him from the endless commercials in which he seemed to nearly prey on those with bad credit, slow credit or no credit. He sells new cars across the Twin Cities, he sells used cars, he rents cars via Advantage Rental and I think he even, at one time, dabbled in home financing.

It sounds like this giant was diversified. Until this past week when, after blaming his company's woes on Chrysler Financial cutting off his line of credit Denny Hecker shut the doors of six Twin Cities dealerships. They weren't all Chrysler outlets but many of them were. Particularly the one in Shakopee which he purchased earlier this year.

That one I can offer up an explanation for its closure. The salesmen (okay, one salesman) sucked. My old lady and I stopped by there in September because we were looking for a more infant friendly ride. She already has a Toyota purchased from Hecker's Inver Grove store so we began our search at Denny Hecker's Shakopee Dodge.

That afternoon stop, as brief as it was, turned me off completely to at least Dodge dealers if not all Hecker dealerships.

That one particular sales guy was, well, how do I say it, he was a dick. Sure, he showed us a few models but only the purty outsides. He wouldn't even grab a set of keys to open up one of those precious Dodge vehicles to show a couple very serious about buying just what these apparently only pretty on the outside vehicles offered once the doors were swung open. How do I know if that Dodge Caliber had enough legroom? How do I know that my carefully styled hair wouldn't hit the headliner as I craned my neck while backing up? How do I know if the Caliber sounded like a damn queef when it was running?

Turns out that Denny Hecker's Shakopee Dodge wasn't the place to help me sort out my automotive purchasing options. It won't be anytime soon either as when I drove by today, the signs were dark. I know that there were many people working there who did their jobs well and they are victims of bad times but that one salesman soured me and I place the blame of a crumbling automotive sales empire squarely on that one dickish salesman's shoulderss. He's the real reason behind the failing of the Denny Hecker empire.

Car photos? On MinnPics? Hey, it could happen but you'll have to check for yourself to see.


Anonymous said...

Did you get the salesman's name? I'd like to send some hate mail for ruining an economic giant like Denny Hecker.

Mrs Marcos said...

Uh, I clicked the wrong thing, didn't mean to post as "anonymous."

Anonymous said...

hmmmmm......Selling Transcend Communications to auto magnate Denny Hecker.
The deal forced the husband-and-wife team to refocus on their next venture, but their emphasis on customer service didn’t change. That’s helped them build a new company, Paragon Solutions Group Inc.,

Paragon sells technology that protects data and helps systems share information. The Vojtas launched it in 2007 after selling their previous company, Transcend Communications, which provided telecommunication technology to businesses, to auto magnate Denny Hecker. Selling Transcend, which had more than 4,000 customers at the time, required the Vojtas to enter a noncompete clause that prevented Paragon from working with telecommunications. (Last month, that clause expired, making room for a healthy Paragon expansion.)

Adjusting from telephones to IP and IT technology has been surprisingly smooth, Todd said. “We knew it had to be done. We had been watching it and learning it.”

Starting Paragon, based in Corcoran, fulfilled a desire to “go deeper” in network providing, CEO Maria said. When the Vojtas started Transcend, Todd already had worked in telecommunications at AT&T Inc. Expanding to IT required a lot of research that Maria, a technology buff, was more than happy to do.

“We had only one focus at Transcend, and we became narrowly focused,” she said. Paragon offered them the chance to step back and include all forms of communication.

One thing that didn’t change from the last company was the Vojtas’ basic business model: keeping customers happy. Todd even hits a philosophical note when he describes his work priorities.

“If you live and breathe it, it’s who you are and not what you say,” said Todd, Paragon’s president.

Jesse Cahman, director of safety and security at North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park, said he’s been happy with Paragon’s service. The company’s worked on changing the college’s recording software and recently won a bid to expand the school’s axis camera installation.

“They’ve reduced my costs be almost 50 percent,” he said. “That’s pretty much why they’ve won both projects.”

By adding telecommunications, Paragon expects to gain an extra 15 customers a month on top of its average monthly addition of 10. It’s growing faster than Transcend was when it was in similar stages.

But the Vojtas are careful not to let their company grow too fast. “We’re taking things very slow, making sure things are right,” Maria said.

Anonymous said...


August 28, 2009 | Transcend Communications, a Minneapolis, Minnesota based reseller and integrator of IP telephony, network & video solutions today announced it has signed a Letter of Intent to be acquired by Philadelphia, PA based Fastech Investment Group backed by NewSpring Capital, also of Philadelphia.

With over 3,000 installations and focused on ShoreTel and Avaya system implementations, Transcend expects the acquisition by Fastech to be a catalyst for accelerated growth and expansion. Transcends customers can expect to see the same management and support team that has enabled Transcend to achieve some of the industry’s highest customer satisfaction scores.

“ShoreTel is very excited about the new partnership between Transcend and Fastech Investments”, said John W. Combs, chairman and chief executive officer of ShoreTel. “This acquisition provides Transcend with the necessary capital to expand their very successful regional business nationally over time. George Demou (President and CEO of Transcend) and his team have built a successful model that can be methodically expanded beyond their current Midwest focus.”

Fastech, a leading provider of Information technology services, chose Transcend as its lead acquisition in the IP Telephony solution space. “We believe the Transcend organization is a proven winner focused on the rapidly growing IP telephony market, with a seasoned sales and support team. We are looking to capitalize on their strong market position, their experienced management team, and galvanized customer relationships.” Said Fastech CEO Rick Hirsh.

“Linking up with Fastech addresses our two key strategic goals”, according to George Demou, Transcend CEO. “We were in search of a partner that would ensure our customers would receive the world class customer satisfaction that they have come to expect from Transcend. Beyond that, we wanted to join forces with a group that shares our vision for expanding our IT services scope and market reach.”

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close by September 30, 2009.

About Transcend Communications
Transcend has been implementing communication systems since 1984 and has over 3,000 customers with deployments in 35 States and 5 countries. By definition, we are a Value-Added Reseller (VAR) and systems integrator that designs, develops, deploys and supports IP telephony and Internetworking solutions. By reputation, we are known for providing world class customer satisfaction; the company finished 2008 with a rating of 97.24%! For more information on Transcend, visit

Anonymous said...

He in jail now.