Industry Spotlight

March 2019
Interview with Dennis Londagin, Owner of the Empire Chrome Shop
Dennis Londagin stands with his mother and the Empire Chrome Shop Peterbilt model 379
INTERVIEW BY:
  • Mark Harter
PHOTOS COURTESY OF:
  • Dennis Londagin

Mark: Hello Dennis, thanks for taking some time to talk with me! Would you mind telling our readers about your background and how you got involved in the shiny side of the trucking industry?

Dennis: Well, Mark. Some people may not know that I actually started in the industry as a driver myself. I ran a 379 Pete for 14 years before I decided to try opening my own store. My mother and father were the original owners of the truck and drove it for 5 years. I always wanted my own store, and I had managed retail stores previously, so I decided to step out of the truck and open Empire Chrome. Since then, the Pete has become sort of a mascot for us. It is parked in front of our West Memphis location, and we have it on our shirts and website.

Mark: What kind of products and services does Empire Chrome offer? Does Empire do any custom parts/work on trucks for owners who want something different?

Dennis: We have a wide selection of chrome and chrome accessories along with bumpers, lights, visors, fenders etc. Our in-store inventory is one of the largest in the country. We install almost everything we sell in the store with a few exceptions. Our installation techs love to work with customers to come up with unique and functional ways to make their trucks shine. We also offer some of the best customer service out there today. We are able to order customized parts from some of the best manufacturers in the country, but we don’t do any fabrication in-house.

Empire Chrome Shop
Empire Chrome Shop

Mark: What are your most popular items/best sellers?

Dennis: LED lights are probably our number one right now. We have one line in particular that has been really hard to keep on the shelves – the Dual Revolution series by Trux Accessories. They offer a double function that lets you switch from a DOT legal color over to a more creative color, like blue, purple, or green. You can go from road ready to show ready with just the flip of a switch. Another one of our best sellers is mud flap hangers. We have a pretty good deal some of our hangers that are just too good of a deal to pass on!

Mark: How many locations do you have? Do you have truck parking at your shops?

Dennis: We have two locations. One in West Memphis, AR and a newer store we opened a few years ago in San Antonio, TX. Both stores are family operated and offer the same great customer service. We have great truck parking at our West Memphis location and although we do have some at San Antonio, we are looking to improve it very soon. We know how much of a pain it can be for drivers when proper parking is not available.

Mark: The fact you offer installation of parts is a nice service for busy truckers. What does it cost? How many mechanics do you employ? Is this service available at both locations?

Dennis: When I set up Empire Chrome I knew I wanted to offer an installation bay. It is just so much more convenient to be able to pick out what you like and get it done right then.

Our installations are an hourly rate. We have four experienced technicians at our West Memphis location that do outstanding work at a quick pace. We also offer the installations at our San Antonio location. They have 5 technicians who do excellent work as well.

Interior of Empire Chrome Shop
Products on display at Empire Chrome Shop

Mark: There's a million chrome shops out there across the USA, what do you feel sets Empire Chrome apart from the rest? Why should customers shop at Empire Chrome?

Dennis: We treat every customer equally. If you spend $3 dollars or $3,000 dollars you will get the same attention and care no matter what. We have some of the best customer service possible. If you call either of our stores, you will never get an automated machine. You’ll reach a real person who can and will help you. Lastly, our inventory is more extensive than other stores. We try our best to have a wide variety of parts for each and every truck. A lot of chrome shops have to call and have items drop shipped from distributors because they do not carry the item in their physical store. We ship the vast majority of our orders directly from our store, so most customers receive their parts in 1-3 business days. We do very minimal drop shipping.

Mark: Do you own a show/display truck? if so, what kind of truck?

Dennis: The Pete I used to run has sort of become a display truck. The sleeper was extended to 120 inches back in 1992, when my parents were still running as a team. That makes it super eye-catching to begin with, and we’ve added a lot of parts we carry in the store so that customers can see what’s possible.

Empire Chrome Shop truck parkiing and shop entrance
Empire Chrome Shop Peterbilt model 379

Mark: How can truckers interested in shopping the Empire Chrome catalog of products find you guys online?

Dennis: We are really easy to find. Our website is EmpireChromeShop.com. We are also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Our phone number is listed on each of these sources along with our hours. We ship all over the world, as well.

Mark: Thanks again Dennis. It's been great speaking with you! We wish you and Empire Chrome continued success!

Dennis: Thank you, Mark! I appreciate you taking an interest in Empire Chrome and we were happy to be a part of your website. We hope DuncanPutman.com continues to grow and continue to be successful as well.

One more thing, we will be at the Mid-America Truck Show in Louisville, KY this March (28-30, 2019) to check out some of the new stuff. A couple of the Empire Chrome Shop crew will be walking around the event, so if you see someone with a bright blue Empire Chrome shirt on, stop them and say hi! We will be handing out some shirts while supplies last. First come, first serve!

Empire Chrome Shop Official Website
EDITOR'S NOTE:
  • Special thanks to Dennis Londagin, Rich Yawn and the entire crew at Empire Chrome Shop for the great interview! Make sure and visit the Empire Chrome Shop website to find products for your truck today!

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