The following story is an excerpt from a feature in our "What Rural Lifestylers Want From You" archive. View the full story

Jim Pfeifer, owner of Pfeifer’s in Sioux Falls, S.D., recalls the story about the first time his father, Bob, saw a compact tractor. It was the mid-1970s. “The Kubota rep pulled in with a B7100 on a snowmobile trailer behind a Buick Electra. My dad said, ‘What is it?’”

Pfeifer says his dad researched the tractor and saw the potential for the compact tractor segment. “He said he had the same feelings in 1964 when he took on Bobcat.”

The dealership’s lines now include John Deere, Bobcat, Massey Ferguson, Hesston and Kuhn. The fourth generation of the Pfeifer family is now selling equipment to rural lifestylers and ag producers. It’s that connection from generation to generation that earns them business from rural lifestylers like A.J. Swanson, whose grandfather bought equipment from Pfeifer’s. Swanson has been buying equipment from the dealership for 13 years as part of his efforts to restore his land to native prairie.

“A.J. is one of those customers who is not just a customer, he’s a friend,” Pfeifer says. The dealership also has a professional relationship with Swanson as he serves as their lawyer. “We switch rather quickly from legal discussions to his tractor needs. He says, ‘By the way, what do you think of this?’”

Pfeifer says Swanson is very knowledgeable about tractors and does a lot of his own research on the Internet, as do many of his other rural lifestyle customers.

“It certainly makes our job easier. They’ve done the studying. They know what they need. Then, it gets down to availability, price and supporting the product.”

Pfeifer’s son, Dallas, agrees. He’s the fourth generation to work at the dealership and works closely with Swanson.

“There’s so much on the web that customers know a lot before they call us. A.J. knows what he wants. He calls up and says, ‘Is this tractor going to do the job for me?’ and then we talk about specific applications,” Dallas says.

Pfeifer’s finds ways to help other rural lifestylers who aren’t as familiar with equipment. “We offer to have them watch the first service. They can watch my guys go through it. This helps them feel more comfortable later on and the next time they can do it themselves. We might lose some service money, but it’s better overall in terms of the relationship,” Dallas says.

Pfeifer mentions other policies that help them keep long-time customers like Swanson. “When he has an issue we work to get him serviced or let him use other equipment in a pinch. We keep inventory on hand, so when he comes in he can see the new products. And, the most important thing is to research what’s new so we can see what might fit his needs.”

Pfeifer’s, Sioux Falls, S.D., has worked with rural lifestyler A.J. Swanson and his family for generations. They received an award for being a Bobcat dealer for more than 40 years. The dealership team includes (from left): Dan Lenz, Stan Schaal, Jim Pfeifer, Bob Pfeifer and Dallas Pfeifer. Daryl Hanson, their Bobcat representative, is on the far right.