With over 50 years of success behind them, Commercial Trade, Inc. has a lot to celebrate.
In 1967 Ed and Carol Moss had a problem. With highly successful careers in the collection industry, they had reached as high as they could in the corporate ladder and yearned to make an impact of their own. Compounding the problem was that they worked at the same agency but had to manage different branches of the business to avoid a conflict of interest. While doing research, Ed discovered some interesting facts about Bakersfield that inspired him to set out and open a company of their own. “They relocated from Fresno to Bakersfield because my father did a survey of the state and found that Kern County was the only county that did not go under during the market crash of ‘29, because of the mixture of agriculture and oil, so that’s why he decided to open the company here,” elaborated daughter Danette Keeler, Corporate Secretary and Treasurer.
For years the business was run under Moss Collection Service with Ed in charge of sales and collections while Carol handled data entry, bookkeeping, and collections. The company was small at first but continued to grow as their hard work paid off. Unfortunately, they were forced to move just four years later when their building was bombed as retaliation for uncovering the largest chop shop in California when they sent the sheriff to do a reposession.
The business relocated and the name was changed to Commercial Trade Bureau of California, and incorporated in 1977. The biggest changes over time have been the advances in technology. With fax machines becoming more common in the 80’s and 90’s, business no longer had to be done just over the phone or in person. Even today they’re still seeing changes, with clients asking for updates over text message and email. Another big difference is the addition of a consumer department specializing in healthcare services.
With their own legal team overseen by its in-house attorney, they’re a rare breed among collection agencies, a practice that dates back to Aunt Shirley handling the legal papers in the early days. This ability to handle their own lawsuits means that they provide “more money back in customer’s pockets. The net result is that we tend to out collect our competitors. We have a much higher collection rate than the industry average,” reported Vice President Chris Keeler.
While building trust and rapport has always been a priority, Chris revealed that it’s more important now. “People have more items on their agenda today with much less time. Their schedules are fuller than in the 90’s.”
As the agency expanded throughout the years, it needed larger facilities. This resulted in Ed and Carol developing a new business name, The Trade Center, which provided executive office space. “In fact, there are still four or five ‘Trade Centers’ around town, all of which my parents owned at one point,” Danette stated with pride.
Today Carol is the Chairman and sole owner of the corporation. Her son-in-law Hal Ennis is the President and COO. Grandson Chris Keeler is the Vice President of Operations and Compliance Officer. Daughter Danette Keeler is the Corporate Secretary/Treasurer and Office Manager. Granddaughters Jennifer Keeler and Tiffany Moss-Ennis handle customer service, data entry, and credit compliance. Even though a large amount of the staff isn’t related, she said, “it feels like family” with some employees being a part of the company for over 30 years.
With it being the company’s golden anniversary, Danette shared that it also coincides with the traditional biblical year of celebration, Jubilee. With 50 years of successes big and small behind them, that alone is something to celebrate.
5330 Office Center Court Suite C, Bakersfield CA | 661-632-2100