[Source: INEDA, 07.2016 | Keywords: Dealerships]
Over the last two years, several members have built new facilities. While some moved to a different
location, others constructed a larger facility or rebuilt after experiencing a disaster, like a fire. All were
designed with the customer in mind and feature brighter lighting, expanded training spaces, shops and
showrooms, and a more efficient use of space. Here ís a brief look at four new dealership facilities…
Van’s Implement, LTD | Hull, IA
The year 2015 is one the staff at Van’s Implement will never forget. Matt Vande Hoef and his brother-in-law, Justin Van Schepen, were in the process of buying into the family business owned by their father, Bruce Van Schepen, when Bruce suddenly passed away on March 28, 2015. Then, just over one month later, a fire destroyed the dealership’s shop.
While they were able to salvage the front part of the dealership, which housed the computer system and parts, the shop and service trucks were a total loss. “We debated on whether we should just rebuild the shop or build an entirely new facility,” reflected Matt Vande Hoef, sales manager. “In the end, we decided to take the plunge and build a new facility containing everything we wanted in a dealership.” Just one year after fire destroyed part of the old facility, the staff moved into the new facility.
The new 22,500 sq. ft. facility is bright, featuring LED lighting throughout. It has a rustic look, with birch wood on the walls and doors made out of old barn tin. “We wanted to give the dealership a rustic look and feel,” explained Vande Hoef. “The new facility reminds me of a stable, which I feel will tie in nicely with the barn on our property.”
The new, larger shop (12,500 sq. ft.) features 28 ft. high ceilings and larger doors, making it easier to service today’s larger equipment. In addition, the air conditioned shop contains a 5-ton hoist spanning the full length of the shop.
Several changes have also been incorporated into the new parts department. “We removed our parts counter and created pods instead,” explained Vande Hoef. “Each of our parts personnel has his/her own individual pod, complete with built-in wall cabinets containing the most common parts. It’s been a nice change that I feel makes them more efficient.”
In addition, the new facility features larger, modern offices and a showroom, something the old facility lacked. “We have noticed a big difference in our walk-in traffic since putting a dedicated showroom in the new facility,” said Vande Hoef. “Items have been flying off the shelf!” Things like chain saws, weed eaters, leaf blowers, toys, oil and clothing can now be found on the display floor. The dealership also added grills and smokers to its product mix to entice more townspeople to come through the door.
Van’s Implement now has a large conference room to hold meetings and training sessions. “With equipment becoming more specialized, we’ve discovered the need for more one-on-one training,” said Vande Hoef. “This room can fit up to 20 individuals at a time for specialized training sessions.”
An inside dock was also added for unloading orders from delivery trucks. “It has been so nice receiving parts without having to go outside to unload them,” said Vande Hoef. “This will be especially true during the winter months.”
The Massey Ferguson dealership currently employs 17 individuals, including six family members: Matt Vande Hoef, sales manager; Justin Van Schepen, service manager; Valerie Van Schepen, accounting; Travis Veldman, parts; Kevin Van Schepen, finance; and Angie Broek, accounting.
“Our customers have shown their dedication to our dealership over the years,” concluded Vande Hoef. “Constructing this new facility was our way of showing them that we are in business for the long haul and will be here to serve them for many years to come.”
Roehr’s Machinery | Hebron, NE
Roehr’s Machinery has been serving the Hebron community for the past nine years. In late 2014, Dean Roehr and Mark Bathel made a commitment to Hebron when they started construction of a new facility just two miles north of Hebron on Highway 81.
The previous Hebron facility (a rental) was small and only housed parts and sales, with service run out of the Beatrice location. “We wanted to make sure a full-fledged dealership with service, parts and sales was going to be a good fit for Hebron before investing in a new facility,” said Roehr, owner. “The location on Highway 81 helped make the decision to build an easy one.”
He visited some dealerships to generate ideas for the new facility. “New Holland had some floor plans they wanted us to utilize, so we took those plans and incorporated some of our ideas into the design,” said Roehr. “Our ultimate goal was to create a facility that was both functional and appealing to our customers. I think we achieved that.”
The dealership suffered a three month setback when it was hit by a tornado while moving into the new facility. “While the main building did not get hammered too bad, the warehouse facility on the property was destroyed,” said Roehr. “Unfortunately, we were storing equipment in the warehouse at the time.” The new 11,500 sq. ft. facility and 7,500 sq. ft. warehouse were completed in May 2015. Canopies in front and along one side of the dealership (3,500 sq. ft.) help protect equipment from the elements.
The dealership features a two-story parts room with double decker garage doors. The room also contains a library and computer for service technicians. Two flat screen televisions are hung on the wall behind the parts counter. “We run commercials of products we carry and post the parts page on the televisions,” said Roehr. “It’s one way to get information to our customers. As time progresses, I hope to post our used equipment on the screens as well.”
The shop currently houses a state-of-the-art ventilation system, a designated welding area and curtains around the wash bay. Specialty tools are shared between the Hebron and Beatrice locations. “Since we were going from a location that offered no service to one with a full-fledged shop, we decided to hold off on adding things like a crane and air conditioning to the shop until we could ensure that we had enough service calls to back up the expense.”
According to Roehr, a few things still need completed at the facility, such as building roads out to where the equipment sits and around the irrigation storage. Long term plans include developing some of the land behind the dealership. “Now that we have extra land and trees we are considering putting in a trail for test driving recreational vehicles,” said Roehr.
In addition to New Holland, the dealership carries Reinke irrigation, Can-Am utility vehicles and a variety of shortlines, with plans to add the New Holland industrial line down the road. The dealership recently started carrying Echo chainsaws and trimmers to encourage townspeople to stop by the dealership.
“The people of Hebron have made us feel so welcome,” concluded Roehr. “We look forward to serving the community for many years to come.”
AgriVision Equipment | Winterset, IA
When Barker Implement and A & M Green Power merged to form AgriVision Equipment in 2014, they started looking for a larger facility to house the John Deere dealership. In the end, they purchased a vacant warehouse on the east side of Winterset on Highway 92. Demolition started in July 2015 and the updated facility opened in mid-June.
The 106,400 sq. ft. facility features polished concrete flooring, LED lighting and Wi-Fi throughout. “I’m pretty sure it’s one of the largest John Deere facilities around,” said Randy McCunn, project manager. “It is twice as big as anything we’ve built before.”
“It’s a huge facility for an equipment dealership,” added Todd Barker, board member. “I didn’t think we’d ever use all of that space. I was wrong.”
The dealership sits on 23 acres. “Our front and side lots are big enough that we have a nice staging area for equipment,” said Seth Robinson, customer account manager. “It also makes a nice entrance into the east side of Winterset.”
The facility houses:
• Showroom – 11,850 sq. ft.
• Offices – 13,350 sq. ft.
• Parts storage – 37,300 sq. ft.
• Shop – 34,950 sq. ft. (with two 5-ton cranes)
• Administration – 7,000 sq. ft.
The showroom is twice as large as other AgriVision Equipment locations. “We currently have a restored 2-cylinder John Deere tractor and a restored 4020 John Deere tractor on display,” said McCunn. “We also have one of the largest Stihl displays around and can showcase every model of John Deere compact utility tractors in our showroom.”
The dealership’s extensive parts storage is second-to-none. “Not only can we store all of the Deere parts, but lots of short line parts as well,” explained Robinson. Two parts counters and a small room for overnight parts pick up help keep the parts moving.
The facility has ample whole goods storage as well. “All of our attachments can be housed under one roof, while most dealerships have to store them outside or in a separate building,” explained Robinson. “This demonstrates that we are in the business to sell these items and make sure they are in the best shape possible.”
AgriVision Equipment is a John Deere Commercial Application Dealer (CAD) for central and southwest Iowa, so the Winterset dealership serves as a hub for sprayers, dry spreaders and anhydrous applicators. “While most of the service work done on sprayers tends to be out of service trucks onsite, that’s difficult to do in the winter,” said Barker. “This new shop will allow us to work indoors on sprayers with 120 ft. booms.”
The dealership also offers an efficient bulk oil and bulk DEF station for its customers. “We look at this as another service we can provide our customers,” said Robinson.
The administration area includes a 1,500 sq. ft. training room that can house up to 56 individuals. An oversized door next to the training room allows staff to view a large piece of machinery without leaving the building. “This is very handy for employee and customer training sessions,” said McCunn. The dealership also has a 900 sq. ft. room dedicated for Integrated Distance Training (IDT) set up with computers, cameras and microphones.
“This building makes us efficient because we can stock more inventory, which means we will have what our customers need when they need it,” concluded Robinson. “It also shows our customers that we have invested in the area and plan to be here for many years to come.”
Butler Ag Equipment | Pickrell, NE
Butler Machinery Company expanded into Nebraska in 2012 when the company had the opportunity to acquire AGCO’s Challenger and application lines in the state of Nebraska. Today, Butler Ag Equipment, a division of Butler Machinery Company, has four locations in Nebraska – Fremont, Kearney, Pickrell and Chadron.
Overall, Butler has 18 full-service dealerships in the Dakotas and Nebraska, with its headquarters located in Fargo, ND. The Pickrell, NE, facility, which took nearly one year to construct, opened in August 2014.
A standard footprint is utilized for all new Butler stores in Nebraska, with minor modifications from location to location. The Pickrell facility is just over 28,000 sq. ft. It features polished concrete floors and bright, energy-efficient lighting throughout. “When you first step through the doors, it doesn’t feel like you are walking into an ag equipment dealership. We strive to create an open and welcoming atmosphere for our customers” exclaimed Kevin Lammle, operations manager.
Half of the building is dedicated to the service shop, where four-24 ft. overhead doors and one-40 ft. bi-fold door provide easy access for even the largest piece of ag equipment. “The ability to work on any size and type of equipment in our facility is a huge advantage,” said Lucas Scheibe, store manager.
An overhead door between the Parts and Service Departments allows quick access to the parts needed for repairs. “We typically have 5,000 or more parts in stock at our Pickrell store,” explained Scheibe. “Across the company, we have access to 250,000 AGCO items so we can typically get a part within 24 hours. That’s the nice thing about a large dealer network.”
Seven- and 5.5-ton overhead cranes also span the full length of the air conditioned shop. “We truly don’t have limits on what we can service with the infrastructure we have in place,” said Scheibe. “Butler has all the tools we need to serve our customers.”
Employee locker rooms are another nice feature of the dealership. “All parts personnel and technicians wear uniforms to maintain a standard, professional look,” said Lammle. “The locker rooms give them a convenient place to clean up and change out of their uniform.”
All Butler Ag Equipment personnel are very conscientious of contamination control and take steps to keep their new facility free of contaminants. “Safety is priority one. Spills are mopped up and dealt with immediately and we take special care in how we store things all the way up to how they get delivered,” said Lammle. The facility also features a heated apron around the shop doors to help keep snow off the shop floor and to curtail contamination.
An onsite training facility features built-in seating and computer access for up to 50 individuals. “This facility holds training seminars for both customers and associates,” added Lammle.
Wireless Internet is also available throughout the building. “Every technician and associate is outfitted with a laptop. This allows them to be mobile, whether they are in the equipment or at a meeting,” said Scheibe. “We feel this is a very efficient way to work on equipment.”
Butler Ag Equipment has proven to be a good fit in Pickrell as the local full-line AGCO dealership. “We (Butler) have received a warm welcome from the Pickrell community and surrounding area since day one,” said Lammle. “Butler is a third-generation company and we intend to be in Pickrell for many generations to come.”