H&R Block’s New Owners Cut Ribbon at New Location in Saline


SNIP! Alex Gates cuts the ribbon at the new H&R Block location at 1305 E Michigan Ave in Saline. Also pictured are co-owner Joe Gates (RIGHT), and various team members from the office (LEFT). Photo by Chuck Colby.

On Friday, October 27th, the Saline Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of H&R Block's new location in Saline. STN had the privilege of interviewing the new owners, Alex and Joe Gates, who shared their exciting journey in taking over this well-established franchise, which has been serving Saline for over 35 years.

Alex and Joe Gates officially acquired the franchise in January 2023, following a unique set of circumstances that led them to their current location. Many remember the old location, the little house on Michigan Avenue which served as the office for many years. However, an unexpected water main break during the deal's closing forced them to relocate temporarily to a plaza near Taco Bell. It quickly became evident that the temporary spot wouldn't suffice for their expanding business, prompting the search for a new, more suitable location. The result was their present location, next to Nu2U Again, which they've fully renovated. The current staff has already occupied more than half of the space and the new owners have ambitious plans to expand their services to include payroll and bookkeeping.

Both Joe and Alex Gates bring extensive experience in the world of accounting to their new venture. Joe, who holds an accounting degree from Eastern Michigan University, emphasizes their commitment to understanding the complexities of tax matters, with H&R Block's comprehensive training programs supplementing their knowledge. Alex's previous role at Thomson Reuters, where he provided tech support for a tax program, gives him in-depth expertise in resolving technical tax issues and aiding clients with tax preparation.

STN: What do you find most rewarding about your career?

Joe Gates: For me, the most rewarding aspect is helping clients who are facing tax-related challenges, such as IRS notices. We can dive into their issues, interpret what the IRS or the state of Michigan is communicating, and provide solutions. It's a privilege to ease their worries and ensure their financial well-being.

Alex Gates: I completely agree. Our job is about serving the clients, especially when they are under financial stress. We can alleviate their burdens, reassure them that their situation is manageable, and often discover opportunities for a more significant refund. Witnessing the transformation from stress to relief is truly satisfying.

Currently serving around 3,600 clients, Alex and Joe anticipate substantial growth, potentially doubling or tripling their clientele. Their advice to taxpayers is simple: collect your tax documents as soon as you receive them and organize them for a hassle-free experience during your appointment. They assure clients that they will guide them through the process, ensuring a smooth and reassuring tax preparation.

The Saline location is currently staffed by a team of 10, including the 2 owners. When asked about the transition, Alex Gates mentioned that most of the staff remained from the previous ownership, with only a few changes in receptionists due to personal reasons. They are continually on the lookout for tax preparers and receptionists to expand their capacity and efficiency.

The mainstay of their services is tax preparation, catering to both individuals and businesses. However, they may soon also offer bookkeeping and payroll services to keep everything under one roof, offering clients the convenience of handling their financial needs in a single location. This local approach ensures a seamless experience for clients without the need to travel elsewhere for bookkeeping or tax services.

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