“We have a service-driven culture and that sets us apart. I’ve always told all of our employees and our customers, ‘You can buy a red tractor from anybody. The only thing I can do is promise that we’ll give you service that no one else will give you and keep you in the field at all cost.’ This is truly is something that comes from the heart of every one of us,” he says.
In 2011, riding the wave of rapid growth in farm equipment business, Jeff and his brother Tom made the decision to increase the store from 15,000 square feet to 31,000 square feet. “Probably by today’s standards it’s not a big building, but we wanted to maintain the shape of the original facility that our dad built in 1976,” Tom says.
With the service part of the dealership’s business growing — they had gone from 7 techs to 11 in recent years — the expansion added 7 work bays in the shop. “Now, we can keep everything inside,” says Jeff. “We were to the point where we were working on stuff outside; we were washing down equipment outside in the wintertime, which was a total waste of time. With the wash bay that we added, we’re able to get 2 full size combines or 2 full size tractors in there. And it’s heated.”
The addition went beyond increasing the workspace of the technicians, says Tom. “Knowing they can keep up in the shop allowed us in sales to be “just a little more aggressive because we knew we could keep the used equipment moving, it gave us the ability to sell more new.”
The expansion also allowed Lake County to grow its parts business. “We’re in a mode where we’re growing our parts inventory, trying to increase the breadth of the business,” says Jeff. “We were a pilot dealer for Case IH’s Amax parts program, so we’re seizing on the opportunity. We want to demonstrate to our customers that we’re the place they can come to for parts, and we’ll have them on hand rather than having to order them. So we’re just short of 3 times turns now with our parts.”
According to the Blooms, the addition has also allowed the dealership to maintain its market share, which in turn improved overall profitability.