There’s some big news for BlueWest Equipment.
“We’re opening up a new (second) location,” said Dennis Hyrcun, BlueWest president, last week. “That will be ready within a few weeks.”
It’s been a good year, so far, at their 494 Main Street, Hwy 3, Courtland location.
“We sold more equipment in the first three months than we did the whole previous year,” said Hyrcun, figuring last year’s drought was a factor.
“It was across the board, too, no stronger sectors. It was just even.”
BlueWest Equipment currently employs 10 people, he said, and they are actively recruiting.
“Across the board – we’re looking for technicians and sales people. It’s another indication the economy’s improving. Anyone who says there’s no jobs out there, we’re hiring. It’s just that we’re kind of specialized…”
When BlueWest Equipment opened five years ago, their mainstay was the agricultural industry. But over the years that trend has changed, he said.
“We started off basically as an Ag dealership. But I guess we’re leaning more strongly into construction equipment. It’s just evolved on its own, more or less. You’ve got to follow the money.”
The transition started with used construction equipment.
“Farmers are getting bigger now. They’re buying up properties, for different reasons. Nutrient management, and just economic sense. They have to clear up these old homesteads and tree-lines.
“The value of farmland has gone up so much, they have to make every acre count.”
Farmers started buying used construction equipment – backhoes and bulldozers – to clear land.
“Then we had an opportunity to take on the Hyundai line and that’s how we jumped into the construction game.”
At this point, the construction lines account for about 60 per cent of their business.
“More than half,” noted Hrycun.
“It’s smaller construction equipment. We don’t get into anything large. Our customers are more-or-less like farmers – smaller businesses. Basement diggers, small gravel pits, that kind of thing. Some of the bigger guys will branch out. But we’re not involved with any of the big road construction companies.”
BlueWest’s current construction lines include Hyundai and Gehl.
“Gehl is skid-steers, telehandlers, that type of thing… mini excavators. They compete a bit with the Hyundai lineup, but Hyundai basically specializes in wheel loaders and excavators.”
Their farm tractors include McCormick, Landini and KIOTI.
“McCormick and Landini are the same company, but they have different lines.”
They also have the Ferris zero turn mowers.
“They’re commercial-grade mowers,” he said, noting they tend to be getting away from smaller mowers.
“The box stores took over that (smaller mower) market. You can get them cheaper at a box store than the actual dealer. They’re a consumable now.”
Their ‘busy’ season, he said, depends on the lines.
“On the Ag side, we’re busier in the fall, but in construction, we get busier in the winter. It seems like our January was huge and it tapered off a bit in February. That’s when these guys are doing their ‘looking and buying.’ Farmers seem to do their ‘looking and buying’ in the fall.
“Construction’s a bit steadier through the year.”
One of the timing factors for new equipment, he said, is the time it takes to order new equipment. A skid-steer, for example, takes two months – if it’s rushed. Normally, equipment from Gehl and Hyundai take three months for delivery. And it takes longer, he said, for special order McCormick-Landini tractors.
“Everything’s in short supply… and that tells me the economy, world-wide, is getting better.
“What Hyundai has done to streamline production, they’ve built their own plant in Korea – under the license of Cummins – to build their own engines to supply their own need.”