Northwoods Hydraulic & Equipment opened 14 years ago in Moose Lake, Minn., focusing mainly on equipment repairs. The dealership has evolved over the years into equipment sales and a second location recently opened in Cloquet, Minn. The new location helps expand the dealership’s focus on retail sales as well as rental.
“The Cloquet location is relatively new and not everyone knows about it yet, but Northwoods is still the only location within a 20-40-mile radius offering the repair services we have,” says owner Josh Pangerl. Of the 6,000 square feet available at the new Cloquet location, 2,200 square feet is specifically for the showroom, something the Moose Lake location lacked, he says.
Like other smaller dealerships, Pangerl handles many aspects of his business. Repairs are his original focus and something he enjoys the most, but he handles sales as well. “I actually do enjoy everything. It has to get done and I don’t mind it, Pangerl says.
Northwoods Hydraulic & Equipment
Locations: 2 (Moose Lake and Cloquet, Minn.)
Owners: Josh Pangerl
Lines: ASV, Bad Boy, Boss snow plows, Exmark, Hustler Turf, Husqvarna and Meyer snow plows
Northwoods Hydraulic started in a 2-stall garage, focusing mainly on repairs for the logging industry. As the area logging business declined, Pangerl added consumer lines, starting with Hustler Turf 3 years ago. He says customers in the area were already familiar with the brand, but the nearest dealer was at least 20 miles away. Not long after, Northwoods Hydraulic added the Husqvarna, Bad Boy and Exmark lines to fill in product areas.
Expanding into Compact Equipment
Northwoods recently expanded into the compact segment, selling and renting the ASV skid steer and compact tractor loader lineup. Pangerl took on the line because of its quality and the company’s dealer support. ASV’s headquarters are located in Grand Rapids, Minn., which is less than 80 miles from the dealership’s Cloquet and Moose Lake locations.
If a customer wants to try a certain machine but Northwoods Power doesn’t have a rental unit available, Pangerl works with ASV on a demo model. “People have to be able to try out a machine. They aren’t just going to buy something they don’t know anything about,” he says.
Northwoods’ proximity to the manufacturer provides flexibility regarding the amount of inventory it needs to carry. For instance, if a customer is asking for a product that the dealership doesn’t carry, Pangerl can pick it up within a day. “I think we make most of our sales that way because we make everything available, and ASV already has them assembled for us,” he says.
Growing a Dealership
For Pangerl and his team — which includes his wife, Kerry, and daughter, Alexandra — expanding its retail offerings at the new location was fairly straight forward. It mostly involved cleaning and organizing the new space to display as much inventory as possible.
“You’re always going to be a little scared at first of every venture. The biggest thing is just the vast amount of money that you owe people. It’s kind of scary, but you have to crack down and make sales,” he says.
As retail sales have grown, the rental department has grown alongside it. “We’re trying to make it so somebody can try before they buy. If they decide to buy one, we’ll take the rental off of the purchase,” Pangerl says.
The next step is to update their rental information on their website and they plan to work with the American Rental Assn.
“I can’t say we’re strategically putting everything together in a certain order, but it seems to be working out based on how we started and where we’re at right now. All we can do is look to the future and hope that things keep going well,” Pangerl says.
Josh Pangerl started Northwoods Hydraulic Equipment in Moose Lake, Minn. The dealership recently opened a second location in Cloquet, Minn.
Related Content: ASV’s Plans for Brand, Dealer Network, R&D