Scott Mcleod is the third generation owner of Degagne Equipment, a single-store John Deere dealership based in Emo, Ontario, just across the Rainy River from International Falls, Minn. Mcleod participated in RLD’s 2018 Dealer Business Trends & Outlook survey and was the lucky random winner of the $100 gift card.
The dealership was founded about 60 years ago and has changed its focus from agricultural to rural lifestyle customers for several reasons. First, about 10 years ago, the Ontario government required that dairy quotas be opened back up for purchase after the original owner dies, as opposed to just transferring to the next generation. This led to the decline of many smaller dairy farms in the area.
Another factor was John Deere’s changing policies about dealerships carrying agricultural and industrial equipment, so Degagne Equipment no longer carries the industrial equipment it had carried for many years.
Despite these significant market changes, Mcleod says the dealership is growing. “The consumer market is number 1 for us. All we have around here is land and lots of it. This is fishing and hunting country. Compacts, lawn tractors and side-by-sides are huge sellers.”
Many of Degagne’s rural lifestyle customers are moving toward purchasing multiple attachments, such as loaders, backhoes, mid-mount mowers and snow blowers. When Mcleod joined the dealership about 20 years ago, he says they sold just a couple of compact tractors every year and now sell up to 40, with John Deere’s 0% financing being a significant purchase factor.
The dealership has limited competition from other tractor dealers and has retained parts sales from its former industrial clients. They also have made facility improvements in recent years, including building a new showroom and warehouse. It’s because of these factors and the structuring of their Deere contract that Mcleod says they are remaining successful as a single-store operation within the Deere dealer network of multi-store dealerships.
They are also trying something different with their marketing — they’re using Facebook instead of a website. “We used to have a website, but Facebook is so much better for posting specials and information. And, everybody is using it, whether they’re older or younger.”