Faith, family, friends help Buehrle reach milestones

Sunday, February 26, 2012
Cape Girardeau native Chris Buehrle is the founder of NARS. The office facility in Cape Girardeau includes a fitness room, restaurant and daycare (Kristin Eberts)

As the national economy struggles, the NARS call center in Cape Girardeau maintains jobs for 500 local families.

Chris Buehrle founded NARS in 1993 in Chesterfield, Mo. He expanded the operation to Cape Girardeau in December of 2006. Buehrle, the former president and CEO, is now minority owner and board member.

National Asset Recovery Services, Inc. (NARS) began as a debt recovery corporation. It has grown, incorporating customer care excellence and electronic processing into the outsourcing services offered.

"While working for GE, I realized that much of the work I was doing for them could be done by an outside company and we could then do that work for many other companies like GE," Buehrle said. "I built a business plan and it was accepted by the first group of investors I met with."

The local call center is a long way from NARS of 1993.

"When I started in 1993 it was me, a phone and a computer I didn't really understand how to work," said Buehrle. "I spent literally 300 plus days on the road building relationships throughout the country. Obstacles were becoming commonplace, from my young age, to lack of real experience to lack of capital, etc. We'd gain clients little by little and then grow our business accordingly. Lose a little business and learn to work through that."

He persevered and in 2003 opened a site in Montego Bay, followed in 2004 by a Panama City location. After the Cape Girardeau location opened, growth has been steady in other markets. NARS currently has 10 call centers in various markets.

Buehrle has tried to make his companies accommodating and pleasant for his employees. Along with a comprehensive benefit package, NARS has an on-site day care facility, a delicatessen and a gym.

"I thought it would be a differentiator for NARS to have a place where mom or dad could bring their child to work with them, drop them off at a day care on site, at lunch go to our in house deli and pick up lunch to eat with the child and grab a quick workout in our free fitness area and then pick up your child and go home. All cheaper than almost anywhere," he said. "It's working very well."

NARS's success is guided by a set of fundamental values that embraces respect and ethics. Although driven by customers' and clients' needs, the employees work respectfully as a team, striving for excellence in everything they do, and incorporating integrity into every action they take.

"We're in parts of the country where we have good, dedicated employees who care and it shows," Buehrle said.

The company has also started a Family Foundation, which Buehrle said raises more than $100,000 a year for cancer research and prevention. The foundation grew from the Buehrle Golf Classic that was started in memory of his mother, Sharon Buehrle, and all the friends and family lost to and struggling with cancer.

Buehrle cites three factors that kept him going when he encountered obstacles: "Faith, family and friends. In fact, that's the main ingredient in our Buehrle Family Foundation. Without those components in my life, nothing would have been or is still possible."

According to Buehrle, NARS will continue to find its place in the industry by evolving with the changes that happen in business.

"We've been blessed to have been one step ahead of all the movement and changes in the call center industry," Buehrle said. "That's a tribute to our people and their vision. The NARS Family of employees stands together and meets the challenges of forward thinking together, that's the main ingredient."

Buehrle said NARS will contribute to the growth of Cape Girardeau by continuing to provide steady and rewarding employment to the people and being a good civic partner.

"The city itself is progressing nicely with the bigger cities," Buehrle said. "I've been around Cape for 45 years and am continually impressed with the tenacity of the people while still coveting its small town charm. Cape has everything to be proud of but most of all, it's her people."

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