Young’s Equipment Inc. – Built on family, trust, and integrity
Young’s Equipment Inc., was founded November 1, 1988, by brothers Lloyd and Bill Young and their sons, Tim and Ron. Young’s Equipment is well known in the agriculture industry as a respected organization based on trust and integrity, with Tim serving as general manager since its inception. But the family’s history in agriculture runs far deeper than 1988.
Through the years – The Young Brothers
Lloyd started his career in the equipment business working for Massey in the credit department, eventually becoming credit manager in Regina. Although content in his role, Lloyd’s desire to be a business owner enticed him to move his family to Weyburn, Saskatchewan, in 1958, to join a partnership with Rod Long at Weyburn Farm Supply. The business flourished and grew, as did Lloyd and Mildred’s family, who welcomed five children, Tim, the oldest, followed by four sisters.
Fast forward to 1968, where the opportunity arose for Lloyd and his brother Raymond to buy the Case dealership in Regina, with each of the brothers investing $1,000 and opening their new business, Farmland Sales and Service. As the family roots run deep in operating successful grain and commercial cattle farms, the ambitious brothers started a new business selling livestock equipment.
The Young family grain farm continues successfully in the Lumsden area with Ron’s son Raymond on track to take over the family farm. This would be the fourth generation since Lloyd’s father Floyd moved there in the Dirty Thirties. They are proud of their heritage and have been recognized as progressive producers.
In 1972, Lloyd and Raymond decided to commit to the livestock industry full time and sold the Case dealership to another company. They bought a different facility on Highway #6 North, and Farmland Sales and Service forged ahead to a bigger and better future.
Through the years – Tim Young
Tim’s future in the equipment business began with washing a Massey 44 at his dad’s dealership in Weyburn. He helped with odd jobs through school and spent his high school summers working on his uncles’ farms. It was here that Tim says his experience began with equipment. In 1973, following his first year of university, Tim’s dad told him that Case had an interesting summer job opportunity as a demo tractor operator. “I was offered the job and I became Case’s demo operator driving a Case 2470 towing a 39’ chisel plow around Saskatchewan and Manitoba, covering approximately 4,700 miles,” said Tim. “I did this job for many summers until I graduated with a degree in business administration.”
In 1977, Case hired Tim as product specialist, a year later promoted to service rep, and the next year became a territory manager. He was soon promoted to sales and product training manager for Canada. As his career continued to grow, in 1981, he had the opportunity to go into the retail side as a partner in Tractor Power and Equipment carrying Case products and Morris Rod Weeder. “I learned a lot in this business and got a better understanding of what it takes to be in sales. Our company grew by leaps and bounds, but there were disagreements between the four partners on the day-to-day operations,” explained Tim. “With that, I sold my shares back to the original partners following four years with the company.”
Tim continued in the agricultural industry, joining the Case company store division called Retail Enterprises. As a zone analyst, he worked with agricultural and construction stores on business metrics and processes. “I saw the good ones and the poor ones and helped many dealerships through the Case IH transition.”
In 1986, he was introduced to the combine business and full-line offering, becoming the sales manager at the Case IH dealership in Yorkton. This was an opportunity to learn about the full line of agricultural equipment, and he soon moved into the role of store manager.
The beginning of Young’s Equipment
While running the Case IH company store in Yorkton, Tim received a call informing him that Pro-Ag International, the new Case IH dealer in Regina, had gone into receivership and suggested that he investigate the possibility of acquiring the new contract.
Recalled Tim, “I called my father Lloyd and said maybe we should explore this opportunity. He asked me how much I thought it would take, so I took a guess and gave him a number. I was shocked when 20 minutes later, he called back and said, ‘here is what we’re going to do.’ My father was a wise man and advised that he would buy a third, my uncle, Bill, and his son Ron, would buy a third, and I would buy the other third, keeping the business in the family. I became the general manager with the final say on the business, and the rest, as they say, is history.”
In 2010, Lloyd passed away, and Bill stepped back from day-to-day operations. Changes in ownership were made, with Tim’s oldest son Sean becoming an owner, working as assistant general manager. “Sean has worked in the dealership since he was 12 years old. After graduating with a degree in commerce from The Queen’s School of Business in Kingston, Ontario, he worked with Farm Credit Canada for a couple of years before joining us full time. Our youngest son, Patrick, has worked with us for many years since graduating with a degree in Chemical engineering. He will have an opportunity to buy shares in the business in the next few years,” said Tim.
Young’s Equipment soon built a solid and loyal customer base, offering Case IH, Bourgault, MacDon, Väderstad, Vermeer, Highline, Bunning, Haybuster, and Loftness equipment.
Then, on May 29, 2000, while preparing to take on a second location in Moose Jaw, Young’s Equipment was devastated by a total loss fire at its Regina location.
“We couldn’t have gotten through this devastating loss without the support of our great staff, loyal customers, and fellow dealers,” noted Tim. “One dealer in particular, Redhead Equipment, bent over backward to help us through this difficult time, loaning us forklifts and wheel loaders, letting us use their service bays in their service department, and we never received a bill. Even though it has been 21 years since the fire, I can’t express enough our sincere appreciation and gratitude to Gary Redhead and his staff for their generosity in helping us through that difficult time.”
Tim also credits their insurance company, Federated Insurance, with helping them get back on their feet. “The night of the fire, our insurance representative Paul Procyshyn came out to support us. Their level of commitment and caring is characteristic of the support we receive from every level of Federated Insurance. They have been a great partner of ours through WEDA, and having an insurance company that knows our business has never been so important than when you have a devastating loss.”
Moving forward to becoming a multi-store dealership
Young’s rebuilt its headquarters in Regina, the company’s largest store by volume and size, at the same time as they opened their first expansion in Moose Jaw, on the road to becoming a multi-store business.
“We are finally building a new facility in Moose Jaw on land we acquired a few years ago. We are waiting for the building to arrive. Supply chain issues have been an issue,” said Tim.
Further expansion soon followed with additional locations in Assiniboia (2003), Windthorst (2005), and Weyburn (2006). “Assiniboia is a great community with strong livestock and grain producers. We completed a major addition and renovations at that location in 2013. In 2005, Niven Bachert and the Bachert family invited us to work with them in Windthorst, and we were thrilled. It has worked out so well that Niven is still our branch manager at that location.”
In 2006, Young’s returned to the city of Weyburn, which was home to Tim from before grade 1 to the middle of grade 8. A new building was constructed in 2011 to support the growing business and Tim is delighted to be back in the area where his dad first began his equipment dealer business.
In 2012, there were more expansions, joining MidWest Tractor in Davidson and Raymore. Tim added, “Shane Townsend, an owner, and general manager of the two-store business, steered us through the early days and helped with the construction of a new facility in Davidson in 2015. Shane continues as our corporate sales manager. The second location in the package, Raymore, has experienced consistent growth. We completed major yard improvements, added a bigger shop, and gave the rest of the building a refresh to make it a better, more productive place to work.”
Tim continued, “In 2013, we were fortunate to be able to rent a dealership facility in Watrous from the former Case IH dealer. This is the home of our COO, Kirby Engele, and he is still very familiar with the area. We were able to hire his brother Keith Engele to manage this location. Keith was a partner in the John Deere dealership, and as our branch manager/service manager, he helped us establish a solid business in the area.”
In 2014, Young’s acquired the Case IH dealership in Chamberlain, which had been serving the community since the end of World War II. Young’s is pleased to support its customers in the area with additional parts and service capacity.
All in all, Young’s Equipment services over 50,000 square miles, employing 243 dedicated employees.
Continued relationships and growth
“The ongoing growth in the company is due to our ability to change with the times and market conditions. We must build lifelong relationships with our customers, suppliers, and staff. Many times, we help customers and staff when a difficult situation arises. It may not be our responsibility, but investing in long-term relationships will always pay dividends,” added Tim.
“We invest in the assets to give our people the best work environment possible. Next up will be a new building in Moose Jaw, which is long overdue. It’s great to see some groundbreaking work underway. Our staff is some of the most dedicated in their commitment to serving the agricultural industry.
We have many employees that have been in the business since we were incorporated. Our controller, Rena Brennan, has been with us since we opened, and Terry Becker, service technician, since January 1, 1989. Kirby Engele, COO, has been instrumental in building Young’s Equipment. He has been the bedrock that we built this company-wide business model upon. There are so many more that I could mention, but these are the longest-serving staff from our first year of business who are still working with us every day.”
Young’s has also had a long-standing relationship with Agribition and showcased livestock equipment for years. They have now transitioned to a complete line approach with agricultural and livestock equipment and consumer products. The Young family has had a display at Agribition every year that the show has been held, making it their 50th year anniversary of participating.
Overcoming challenges and transitioning in the future
Along with the pandemic, the ag industry has faced supply chain issues and weather challenges. “This past summer started very strong, but when the rain didn’t fall in many areas, producers were put in very difficult situations,” noted Tim. “Filling contracts with grain buyers have been a major problem, and with lower yields, obstacles add up making bills tougher to pay. Even the incredible increase in commodity prices wasn’t enough to help some producers. The drought affected many in the ag sector.”
As supply chain issues continue to affect the agricultural industry, Young’s has been concentrating on managing inventory orders and controlling the release for sales of trade-ins and even subsequent trade-ins. “Supply chain issues are a fact of life, and we can only control what we have control over,” said Tim. “If we don’t have the original unit sitting in the yard, we will not sell the trade unless the purchaser wants a particular unit and is willing to wait,” added Tim.
“The business continues to evolve, and the pandemic seemed to speed up the transition. In the seven weeks our doors were closed to the public, parts orders transitioned to almost exclusively by phone, but people could send photos, videos, or FaceTime to walk through what they needed. Our customers benefited as parts could be picked up from drop boxes outside, so they could grab and go by when they arrived, saving time during the seeding season. Many customers enjoyed the efficiency of phoning ahead, so this has remained a vital part of the business even after the doors opened back up.”
Continued Tim, “The supply chain issues that were caused by the pandemic had an effect on how we ordered and stocked parts. Our parts team worked diligently to ensure the impact on our customers was minimized by adjusting our practices. In 2021, we ordered parts earlier than ever before and stocked an extra $2 million in parts inventory to try our best to meet customers’ needs. We continue to evolve this plan as it seems supply chain issues will remain throughout 2022.”
The pandemic has taught everyone something, said Tim, and they have tried to learn from some of the changes we were all forced to adapt to back in 2020. He said, “Like other companies around the world, the words “Zoom” and “Teams” are now commonplace as there are more virtual meetings and less travel time. Unfortunately, this also means there has been less personal interaction between stores, and we look forward to when those can return to normal. Customers have gotten used to doing more over the phone in both parts and service, which in many instances can get them back up running quicker.”
Tim says their parts and service departments continue to see the same ebbs and flows based primarily on crop forecasts and conditions. “The strong crops of 2020 led to a spike in parts sales as customers got ready for a good harvest and the drought conditions of 2021 saw harvest demands fall as areas wrapped up quickly.
Ongoing training opportunities
Young’s provides numerous training opportunities to its team ranging from business, communication, and trade-specific as needed.
Tim said, “There is an annual mandatory training requirement with the OEM, and we also offer training and update sessions with other shortline vendors to keep up to date with changes to their equipment. In addition, we do a yearly peer-to-peer workshop with the counter people to trade best practices within the organization and bring them up to speed on the business. This workshop is a valuable piece of our training as it fosters teamwork and takes best practices to our other locations.”
Additionally, new salespeople are enrolled in salesperson training when appropriate. Extensive safety training is offered and completed through WebWSIT, and they participate in all manufacturer training online or in-person when possible. “We strive to meet the manufacturer’s highest training standard, such as Case IH Pinnacle.”
Due to its size, Young’s can often arrange supplemental training from manufacturers and occasionally incorporate customer events, such as Hay Days at their Davidson location.
They have enrolled 29 parts staff in the Dealer Institute Parts Counter Sales training in January and February 2022. Last year, they used the service counter sales onsite customized training for several parts and service staff.
Value of WEDA membership
“Our membership in WEDA is vitally important as it knows our industry,” said Tim. “WEDA is a phone call away to discuss a situation without the background industry norms that put the discussion in context. WEDA is a great source to get the pulse of the industry. We have had numerous conversations with the association through the pandemic as we tried to navigate the quickly changing rules and mandates. We have also co
nsulted with WEDA on various topics from legal, procedural, and everything in between. We look forward to the annual conference, which is a great place to meet together as an industry and renew old friendships.”
What sets Young’s apart?
Tim pointed out that the elements they practice are the same as their competitors. “The difference might be in our commitment to remaining family-owned and managed. We have maintained a tight family ownership structure and have grown at a reasonable pace.
As Young’s Equipment continues to be a leader in the industry, they are steadfastly committed to keeping the company strong and viable, ready to be passed on to the next generation.
Written by Joanne Olson
Joanne Olson is managing editor of publications for the Western Equipment Dealers Association and manages the Canadian office in Calgary, Alberta. She has been with the association for 22 years. She may be reached by writing to: email@example.com