SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — There should be good news for the farm-minded when a new John Deere dealership opens up in South Charleston in the next few months.
Bridgeport Equipment & Tool, a licensed John Deere dealership and service center, is moving into the former IGA grocery store just off the Davis Creek exit of Corridor G.
“John Deere’s been after us a couple of years to get a dealership in the [West Virginia] capital,” said Anthony Patterson, sent down from Bridgeport Equipment’s store in Marietta, Ohio, to get the new South Charleston location up and running.
Patterson and a crew from Ohio began demolition and construction work at the Davis Creek location last week and hope to have the store open within about three months.
“April 15 is what we’re shooting for,” Patterson said.
He said the Ohio-based equipment company was founded about 15 years ago and sells and services John Deere tractors, Stihl chain saws, footwear, clothing, mine gear and John Deere toys and collectibles. The company also offers a full line of equipment rentals.
Bridgeport Equipment & Tool operates stores in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. The Davis Creek location will be the company’s ninth location, Patterson said.
He said the nearest store in West Virginia is in Huntington, where Bridgeport Equipment bought out another equipment company a couple of years ago.
Patterson said the 17,500-square-foot vacant former grocery store on Davis Creek has enough room for a 9,500-square-foot showroom. The store will carry farm tractors (up to medium size), lawn tractors and other John Deere equipment.
Between the showroom and parking lot outside, “We’re probably talking at least 50 or so tractors, plus the lawn mowers,” Patterson said. “We need to get up and running and see what the demand is for it.”
The Davis Creek store will also sell guns and firearms accessories, Patterson said. He said the company’s owner decided to branch off into gun sales about five years ago.
Davis Creek will be the fourth Bridgeport Equipment location to sell guns, and Patterson said gun sales will be added to other locations in the future.
He said company officials looked at several sites around the Kanawha Valley before settling on the Davis Creek location.
Patterson thinks the site will work out well. “I can’t believe how much traffic comes down this exit here,” he said, as cars zoomed by on Corridor G.
South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens said he was excited when he heard a John Deere dealership might be moving into the old grocery store. “It will be a good business for our city,” he said.
Patterson expects the store to employ 15 or 20 full-time workers.