Steve Ahler recently shared his forecasts for Rural Lifestyle Dealer’s 2017 Dealer Business Trends & Outlook survey — and he was randomly selected among the respondents to receive the $100 gift card. 

Ahler is the service manager of Portland Implement, Cashton, Wis., an AGCO and Kubota dealership located in dairy and cranberry country. However, it’s the area’s rural lifestyle customers that are gaining in importance for the dealership.

“In terms of percentage of units sold, about 60% or higher is to homeowners and commercial businesses,” Ahler says. Regarding top sellers, Ahler says, “We jump on everything at our disposal.” This includes the shortlines of Bush Hog, Hustler and Land Pride.

Brian Wang owns the dealership, having purchased an existing Allis Chalmers dealership in 1979 that had been in business for over 20 years. It was located in the town of Portland. In 1999, the growing dealership moved to Cashton and the facility was expanded about 5 years ago.

The dealership has 18 service techs now and enjoys a low turnover rate. Of those that have left the dealership recently, one moved out of the area and another retired. Ahler says they are looking to fill specific needs, including a precision ag service specialist and another for compact tractors. The website features the slogan “We’re always ready to help” and the dealership offers 24-hour emergency service.

Overall, sales and service revenues are good. “Changes after the elections may bring about some opportunities,” Ahler says.

An analysis of all the responses for the 2017 Dealer Business Trends & Outlook survey will be available soon. Watch your mailboxes in late January for our winter print issue and the report will also be posted online soon.