Farm Horizons, November 2007

More than a John Deere dealership

Midwest Machinery’s new location offers merchandise and accessories as well

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Midwest Machinery, formerly Cokato Equipment, opened its doors in August at its new location west of Howard Lake on Highway 12. This new site offers a large showroom, service department, and easy access right off the highway.

Now, Midwest Machinery is more than a John Deere dealership, it’s a complete John Deere “Place” with clothing, merchandise, and toys.

General Manager Gene Seipel explains what makes it a John Deere “Place” is the displays, signage, and uniform setup of the showroom. It is also the only one in the state, he said.

The new location and showroom is attracting more business. Not only is there more traffic because it’s easier to get to, but it’s more inviting – appealing to a larger segment of the population, according to Seipel.

“There are a lot more families, kids and wives coming in,” Seipel said.

Upon entering the showroom of Midwest Machinery, customers can find lawn equipment, large and small John Deere toys, clothing, and accessories.

Even though John Deere green is the main color, clothing and accessories come in just about any color and style. A John Deere baby stroller is even available for the die-hard John Deere parents.

In just the past two months, the company has far surpassed the 13 percent increase in business that was anticipated upon the building of the new site, according to Seipel.

“Ultimately, business has been good,” he said. In fact, it’s the best the company has seen in years.

Seipel explained this is partly due to the increase in corn production for ethanol and the dairy prices are the best they’ve been in awhile. Their business depends heavily on what happens with farmers, Seipel said.

“If [farmers] make money, we make money. If they don’t, we don’t,” he said.

Although in the past 30 years, the number of farmers has decreased, but the acreage and size of farms have grown, he said.

“One guy is farming what 10 did 20 years ago,” he added.

Many farmers are retiring and there is bigger and better equipment that helps get jobs done quicker, he said.

With the new site, Seipel brought in another salesman and is planing to hire two more service technicians within the next year, he said.

Along with an additional five acres and triple the showroom area, the maintenance shop now has overhead cranes to make is more efficient and safer for the technicians, according to Seipel.

The new site has not only brought in more foot traffic, but the phones are busier as well, he said.

The majority of Midwest Machinery’s customers are repeat customers and are its best customers.

“They keep us going,” he said.

John Deere is one of the largest manufacturers of lawn equipment but its agriculture manufacturing is still its main focus and is still one of Midwest Machinery’s as well, according to Seipel.

There are three other locations under the Minnesota Ag Power corporation including Rudolph’s in St. Cloud, Stewart Equipment in Stewart, and Glencoe Equipment which is also expanding into a larger facility two miles east of its current location on 9th Street in Glencoe.

Hours of operation during the harvest is Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday’s 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. During the winter months, the store reduces its hours of operation from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 7:30 a.m. to noon on Saturdays, and closed on Sundays.

For more information, contact Midwest Machinery at (320) 543-2170.

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