Expanding its Territory

Monroe Tractor

As the equipment and technology that powers construction and agriculture advances, Monroe Tractor has found a way to stay up-to-date with industry innovations while staying true to the service standard on which its reputation was built. It offers unmatched support before, during, and after the sale.
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Monroe Tractor is an agriculture and construction equipment distributor backed by the performance of the Case, Case IH, Claas, Kuhn Krause, NPK, LeeBoy, and Wirtgen brands, available at select locations. The most recent addition to its lineup is the reputable Okada brand, though it offers parts and services for every make and model.

The company carries new and used equipment. While these are standard, the service it provides is second to none and is the reason it has been a landmark operation in New York since 1951. “Where courtesy dwells, service excels,” is the foundation of how Monroe conducts business today and the company’s founder Henry Hansen’s customer service philosophy.

“The equipment all looks alike, and they’re all going to perform, and they’re all going to break, and that’s where the similarities end. After the machine breaks, the dealer needs to step up,” said Steve Macridis, the new sales director for the New England market, which is where Monroe Tractor shines.

According to Macridis, this is, “a dealer that’s not just interested in selling you a machine, but a dealer who is interested in giving you long-term service and support.” This is how the company has grown throughout the decades. It provides exceptional service that keeps customers doing their job.

This woman-owned business enterprise is under the leadership of the second-generation of Hansen. Janet Felosky took over as chief executive officer in 2013 when her father stepped down from the company’s control.

Felosky joined the company in 1972 and worked her way up through the family business, building upon her father’s legacy. Today, she and her team are bringing Monroe Tractor into new markets, expanding into New England and bringing its total number of locations to thirteen.

In New York, locations in Adams Center, Auburn, Batavia, and Canandaigua are dedicated to agriculture, while Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse are concentrated on construction. Combinations of agriculture and construction are served by locations in Albany, Binghamton, and Campbell which is a combination of the previous Hornell and Elmira locations in a new state-of-the-art facility.

The three New England locations in Worcester and Woburn in Massachusetts and South Windsor, Connecticut. These serve the booming construction market for Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

“The opportunity was given to us a little over a year ago, and we saw a great deal of potential because of the sheer size of the market,” said long-time Monroe Tractor employee Chuck Miller and general manager of its New England operations. “It is a market that has a different process and way about it than we see in New York. It’s a market that starts earlier in the season which is good for us, but it’s had its challenges, not the least of which being facilities and people.”

Monroe Tractor had two primary objectives in the New England market. It wanted to identify and relocate to sites that would put it in a position to support customers. To ensure that the right resources were in place, Monroe wanted to invest in expanding its service truck fleets, hiring talented people, and building up an inventory to serve its new market.

To date, Monroe has facilities in Worcester and Woburn, Massachusettes and recently moved into its new facility in South Windsor, Connecticut.

“Our biggest challenge is getting the right people because we’re entering into a territory that hasn’t had a true Case dealer present in many years, so it’s like starting up a brand new operation. We’ve overcome our first hurdle of moving to new facilities so it’s all about people now,” Miller explained.

Efforts have been made to get the right people on board, as Laura Wilkas, Assistant GM of the New England division and marketing manager for New England and New York and Hansen’s granddaughter noted. “We want people who have been here and know the customer base and how they do business, as well as the experience and knowledge that puts us in the right position to deal with this new marketplace.” Wilkas, being a Massachusetts resident since 2001, has witnessed the decline of the Case name.

“Through the late 1980s and 1990s, the Case name kind of disappeared in New England, especially Massachusetts, as a result of what I would call dealer apathy,” Macridis recalled. “They really weren’t held accountable for performance, for market share.” Monroe Tractor is looking to change that and bring the Case name to the forefront once again.

“It’s our job to identify the customers who fit that profile and for us to go out and extend an olive branch and educate them as to who we are as a dealer and then earn their business via rental, rental purchase, and sales. And we have some momentum going right now, and we need to capitalize,” Macridis said. The company’s goal is to take care of the small and medium-sized contractors who have been forgotten or left behind.

Whether they are attracted to the expert technicians, the field service and advanced diagnostics, remanufacturing, after-hours support, or scheduled maintenance, there are countless reasons to choose Monroe Tractor. Its service has set a benchmark; its excellent prices and available inventory are just bonuses.

To accommodate recent growth, Monroe Tractor responded by introducing new positions and shuffling its leadership to ensure the right balance.

“One of the things we did differently than in New York was hire a sales director. Steve comes with a wealth of knowledge that we are really lucky to have,” said Wilkas. Steve Macridis brings thirty years of industry experience and has already had a positive impact in building a strong sales force.

“My job here is to help guide them through the territory, help them understand the customer base, and attract good people to the dealership,” said Macridis. “We probably have the most experienced salesforce of any dealership in Massachusetts.”

Miller has been given the task of overseeing the New England expansion. “When you go through the growth that we’ve experienced over the past year, moving into a new territory, the challenge and the concern we always end up having is enough good people, especially management staff,” he noted.

The leadership team was certainly of critical importance during the shift into New England. “Management stepped up over the last year, proving that this was the right move for Monroe Tractor and that we’ve got good people in place in New York that can help ensure this growth and success can continue,” Miller explained.

As equipment technology evolves, training has become more important than ever. The company’s team of service technicians and salespeople are well versed in the equipment and have current brand-specific training. People make all the difference.

So its customers can see the value it can bring through its equipment and service, Monroe Tractor has hosted open houses and facilitated demonstration days to show what it can do. Open houses best serve its agriculture customers while demonstration days cater to the construction sector.

The company is working to set up open houses in New England this year and expects to use that opportunity to launch new products that are coming to the market over the next six to twelve months.

Monroe Tractor’s endless work to bringing the high-performance equipment and the foremost in service is why it has received industry accolades, the most recent of which is Kuhn’s ‘Top 100 Sales’ plaque for 2017, as well as the prestigious ‘Diamond Dealer Status’ from Case.

For years, the company has held Case’s Gold Dealer Status, and last year, it achieved the milestone “Diamond Status” which sets the tone for the future, as it strives to rise amongst the elite performers in the industry.

Wilkas has also done the Monroe Tractor name proud, having been elected chair of trade association Associated Equipment Dealers (AED) Emerging Leaders Council young leaders’ group. This organization of professionals from around the country provides direction about networking and education. She was also honored with the AED Associated Equipment Distribution (AED) Emerging Leadership Award for 2018, presented at the opening of the January AED summit in Las Vegas.

“With this growth comes a lot of learning as a company, and we’re really working on strengthening who we are as a whole, making sure we’re operating to the best of our ability. It is a goal to grow, but I think we’ve done quite a bit of growing this past year and it’s time to focus on being the best for our customers,” Wilkas acknowledged.

By remaining focused on the customer, actively engaging them to inform them about Monroe Tractor as a company, listening to their needs to better understand how to offer them the best products and support, in no time, Monroe will enjoy the same level of success in New England that it has in the New York market.

September 17, 2019, 7:17 AM EDT