KanEquip was founded in 1967 and now has 8 locations in Kansas and one in Nebraska. The dealership is ensuring its future, thanks to a major renovation, investments in the parts department and a focus on the growing rural lifestyle market. Here's an excerpt from a feature on the dealership in our spring 2017 print edition.
The dealership's original Wamego, Kan., facility was about 5,000 square feet and to meet the growing market, buildings were added over the years. Still, the facilities, especially the shop, weren’t providing what the growing dealership needed. In 2014, Jim Meinhardt, a co-owner of the dealership, and the leadership team decided to make a major investment in its future.
“One of the buildings had roof problems and our display area could only show one lawn mower. We also wanted to offer toys and clothes and other things that people need when they come in to buy equipment. We needed to add retail space — we needed something to draw the people in. We wanted to create a good and clean customer environment,” says Meinhardt.
Their shop space was also lacking as the area was designed for equipment much smaller than today’s massive farm equipment. Service techs were bumping against the ceiling when working on combines, for instance.
“We had expanded from 8 to 13 service techs and we just ran out of space. We were also storing parts in 4 different locations,” says Mark Besthorn, store manager.
They called upon those service techs and others for input on how the new dealership should look. “We wanted to get the mechanics’ buy-in, so we went to them and said, ‘Tell us what you need, so we can build the shop you want. Don’t come complaining to us later,”’ Meinhardt says.
Besthorn says he and several others traveled almost 2,000 miles over the course of 3 days to see the facilities of other progressive dealers. They turned to local contractor Carley Construction for the design and build.
They started construction in October 2015 and completed in August of 2016. Throughout that time, the sales and parts teams made do in temporary work spaces as various parts of construction were completed. For instance, conference rooms became sales offices and the new indoor showroom for large equipment was the temporary parts department.
They scrapped most of their existing footprint, saving only the old 120-foot x 150-foot shop to use as a parts warehouse and expanding from there. The new 71,000 square-foot facility has a 200-foot x 200-foot shop. Its new showroom, retail space, parts counters and sales and service offices measure 80 feet x 100 feet.