Stick around long enough and you can see plenty of changes - great lesson for anyone just entering this business. Since the mid-1980s I've visited my share of farm equipment dealerships and there's been a big change in that time - which many of my customer-readers may have noticed.
A trip to the dealer is almost like visiting more 'consumer-oriented' businesses than in the past. That message rang true when I stopped by John Deere dealership Gooseneck Implement in Stanley, N.D. a few weeks ago. It was part of the Precision Start project I've been writing about in this blog recently. This Gooseneck store has just moved into its new building - which coincidentally is right next to a new store for the local Case IH dealership too.
I remember stopping by dealerships 20 years ago where the entrance brought you to a small open area in front of the parts counter, with sales offices to one side and little else. Sure the lot was full of equipment, but the parts counter took up most of the room.
The new Gooseneck store offers a big open showroom where you can pick up the latest tools, toys and even apparel. There's still a big parts counter (where else would you sit and chat on a rainy day), but the bright and roomy store gives a different feeling to a visitor than the old experience.
A view from the second-level shows the big space Gooseneck Implement has for tools, parts and apparel - all popular items for customers stopping by.
For shop techs, the new operation is probably the best. The well-lit shop is roomy. While I was there, they were working on a sprayer and had the 90-foot boom open, in the shop. Not something that could have been done in the old store. Gooseneck Implement manager Fritz Weisenberger spent a lot of time thinking through the details.
And there's one other room that's become almost a necessity in a dealership remodeling or rebuild situation - the "training" room. At Gooseneck this is a well-appointed conference room with comfortable chairs where employees or farmer-guests can sit to learn more about new technology and products. This goes beyond comfort, to offering customers a place where they can meet with company representatives and hear the latest on new equipment.
Makes for an interesting visit and I'm sure the country is full of new dealer buildings that aim to offer you better service. I just think that new shop alone would be a productivity booster for Gooseneck Implement. If you've got a dealership in your area that's remodeled with some interesting features you could share them here...
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