One-store dealership still showing growth
Parmer County Implement is a one-store dealership but that doesn’t mean it’s not growing. Equipment and parts sales have grown. A new marketing manager has been hired. And the West Texas dealership has doubled the size of its shop – with technicians having moved into their new digs in May.
All of the dealership’s technicians have laptops to help them perform service work on the various lines of equipment the dealership offers. Among those lines are Claas forage harvesters, mowers, conditioners and rakes. Parmer County Implement also now has the parts and service contract for Claas combines.
To meet the needs of its customers, which includes custom forage harvesters as well as farmers, the dealership also sells and services JCB tractors, loaders and telescopic handlers, MacDon swathers, and Oxbo mergers.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Texas harvested about 5 million acres of hay and haylage in 2017. It also harvested about 105,000 acres of alfalfa hay and haylage alone. The value of the state’s hay and haylage production was about $1.2 billion. Those forages fed about 4.6 million beef cattle and 515,000 dairy cattle as of Jan. 1, 2018.
Texas leads the United States in the production of cattle and calves as well as in forage-land used for hay, haylage, grass silage, and greenchop. Many of Parmer County Implement’s customers do custom harvesting for feed lots and dairies in several areas of Texas.
“We also provide Claas sales and service where needed in New Mexico and Oklahoma,” says Clint Hurst, president and CEO of Parmer County Implement. He owns the business with his father, Bob Hurst.
Parmer County Implement was established by Jerome Buchanan as an International Harvester dealership in 1940. In 1942 he sold the dealership to Red McFarland, who later sold it in 1964 to Andy Hurst. “Andy was my dad’s (Bob Hurst) uncle,” Hurst explains.
Bob Hurst bought the dealership in 1978 and when International Harvester was merged into the J.I. Case Company in 1985, he began to sell and service Case IH equipment. Clint Hurst joined his father in the business in 1997 and together they operated the business as a Case IH dealership. They did so until August 2017 when Case IH didn’t renew Parmer County Implement’s contract.
“We weren’t big enough and there weren’t any Case IH dealerships to buy in our area so we couldn’t expand,” Clint Hurst says.
But back in 2001 Parmer County Implement had begun selling and servicing Claas equipment. At that time, the dealership had 10 employees. Today it has 22. And its business for custom forage harvesters also has grown from a relatively short season to one that now spans about eight months in any given year.
“We went through growing pains and had to learn how to cover the custom-harvest business,” he says. “But with the valuable training that Claas and other specialty manufacturers offered, it certainly eased those pains.”
“We get more one-on-one help with specialized brands,” he says. “The manufacturers know me and my employees. They know our struggles. We’re not just a number, and that shows with the success we’ve had.”
Parmer County Implement also uses the education and training programs provided by the Western Equipment Dealers Association. “We use almost everything WEDA offers,” Hurst says.
That has included sales training and used-parts management, for example. The dealership also uses the financial services provided by Equipment Dealer Consulting, a partner of WEDA. “That’s helpful because we don’t have accountants on our payroll,” Hurst says.
But the single-store dealership does have 22 employees on its payroll. The business is fortunate in that employee turnover is low, Hurst says. “You have to find the right people – and when you find them – you need to take care of them,” he says.
Parmer County Implement pays competitive wages, 401K benefits, year-end bonuses, and 75 percent of health insurance for employees.
For recruiting job candidates, the dealership works with high school agriculture departments while also using Facebook, its website and word-of-mouth advertising to reach prospective employees. A couple of father and son duos also work for Parmer County Implement.
“We only have 4,000 people in our town, so we have to look outside the box,” Hurst says.
As far as the future, he says, “We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing and growing our business. We’re not currently looking at other locations. But if something were to become available, we’d take a look at it.”
Parmer County Implement
Established: 1940 by Jerome Buchanan as an International Harvester dealership
Locations: Friona, Texas
Owners: Bob Hurst, Clint Hurst
President & CEO: Clint Hurst
Major line: Claas
Other lines: JCB, MacDon, Oxbo, Grouser, Thunder Creek Equipment, Great Plains, Vanair
Photos and Credit
Dealership photos: Dylan Voyles, Parmer County Implement
Article written by Lynn Grooms
LYNN GROOMS is an agricultural journalist living in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin.