Lakeland Equipment and Z&M Ag and Turf, Western New York’s two John Deere dealers, announced Feb. 1 a new partnership with Argonne Capital Group.
The two dealer groups will merge their assets into a new company called LandPro Equipment LLC that is backed by Argonne and existing shareholders of Lakeland and Z&M.
With 12 dealership locations, LandPro Equipment will be the largest John Deere turf and agricultural equipment dealer in the Northeast and will employ 300 emmployees. The combined company will be headquartered in Falconer, N.Y., and managed by Tracy Buck, the newly appointed president of LandPro Equipment.
”We’ve had the pleasure of working with fantastic customers over the years and look forward to continuing that in the future. We’re now selling to the children and grandchildren of people we sold to 30 years ago. Our success is a product of our hard working employees and the quality of the John Deere product. We are excited about this new partnership and the possibilities it offers our customers and our employees,” Buck says.
Z&M Ag and Turf was established in 1963 and was purchased by Buck, a long-time employee, and John Griffith in 1994. Under their leadership, Z&M expanded several times over the next 20 years. In 2001, Z&M purchased Goodridge Farm Supply in Oakfield and Alexander, and also welcomed Tom Kelsey as a partner. Today, Buck and Kelsey own six Z&M Ag and Turf locations in Oakfield; Alexander; Springville; Falconer; Clymer; and Edinboro, Pa.
Lakeland Equipment was founded in 1983 when Marty Phillippe and Gene Roling purchased the existing John Deere dealership in Wayne County. In 1990, Roling and Phillippe partnered with Bob McNamara and Mike Wilson to open two more dealership locations. Together, the former Deere & Company employees grew the company over the next 26 years and now manage stores in Avon; Brockport; Hall; Macedon; North Chili; and Savannah. Phillippe and Wilson are now joined by Andy McNamara and Ryan Payment as managing partners. Bob McNamara retired at the end of 2016.
Argonne Capital is a private investment firm based in Atlanta, Ga., that specializes in partnering with and growing closely-held family businesses. Argonne’s portfolio of companies generates $1.5 billion in annual sales and spans distinctive brands such as IHOP, Applebee’s, On The Border, Krystal and Planet Fitness.
”We are thrilled to be joining the iconic John Deere system and look forward to our partnership with the best-in-class management teams at Lakeland and Z&M,” comments Layton Grisette, principal at Argonne Capital Group. ”We believe that the combination of these two great companies, when coupled with the financial support of Argonne Capital, will enable LandPro Equipment to provide unmatched sales and service to its customers.”
”I’m very excited about the merger that will create LandPro Equipment,” said Phillippe, Lakeland Equipment founder. ”Like Z&M, Lakeland’s main focus has always been on delivering a positive customer experience. This merger will further enhance that experience. The infusion of capital from Argonne will allow LandPro Equipment to create a dynamic, people-driven organization that will have a positive impact on our customers, employees and investors.”
LandPro Equipment will continue to serve the same commercial, construction, farming and homeowner customers as Lakeland and Z&M have for the past 30 years.
”After nearly 37 years of being a part of this business, I am excited about the sustainability that LandPro Equipment will provide to our employees, customers and the community,” Kelsey continues. ”The success of our business is based on building relationships. We have enjoyed countless relationships with our customers and vendors over the years and proudly call them our friends. Our goal at LandPro Equipment is to continue to support our communities and create meaningful relationships with our customers as we maintain the first-rate customer service experience they’ve come to expect.”
Ryan Payment, the newly appointed vice president of LandPro Equipment added, ”This merger brings together two strong organizations that, when combined, will serve customers in 26 counties throughout New York and Pennsylvania. LandPro will build off the reputation that Lakeland and Z&M have established over three decades of quality service. We continue to strive to be the first choice for equipment, parts and service across the many customers we serve — from homeowners maintaining half-acre lawns to farmers managing over 10,000 acres.”