WINCHESTER - A Carp-area Case equipment dealer has tripled the number of its dealership locations in Eastern Ontario.
Reis Equipment Ltd. recently purchased Marleau Garage Ltd., a Case dealership in St. Bernardin, and the Winchester Case dealership operated by J.R. Brisson.
Negotiations for the sales had been ongoing, and were finalized earlier this month. The new locations now operate under the name Reis Equipment Center.
And owner Joe Reis says the company is in Winchester and St. Bernardin for the long haul, and that customer service will be a top priority.
"There's a lot of investment involved, and you don't do that for a short period."
Reis said the quality of the Marleau and J.R. Brisson operations, and the need for businesses to expand into a new economy played the most important roles in his decision.
Reis explained the need for businesses to expand in order to be competitive. Multiple-location dealerships are more and more common in today's economy, he says, noting some American companies that operate up to 20 Case dealerships, and one in Alberta with about a dozen.
It can be difficult for one dealership location to stock all equipment, but it can be done with three locations. And Reis customers can, at any of the locations, buy equipment in stock at one of the others.
Reis has a long-standing relationship with Case IH Equipment. He started work with International Harvester in Hamilton in 1955, later serving a sales position in Newmarket and as a territory manager for northern Ontario.
Case, which was originally a subsidiary of the company Tenneco, bought out International Harvester about 15 years ago, and later went out on its own, becoming a public company in the early 1990s.
Reis came to eastern Ontario in 1968, and opened Reis Equipment near Hwy. 7 and Hazeldean Road, in 1971. The business moved to its current Carp Road spot in 1978, and together with a Pro Hardware store and commercial landscaping management company employs 35 people.
Reis also sits on Case's Marketing Advisory Board, its only Canadian member.
The current staff at Marleau Garage and the other location will be retained, Reis says, and it's likely additional employees, such as mechanics, will be hired. "They're good established dealerships, and they have very good people. The base is there."
Ghisline Marleau, president of Marleau Garage, said when the time came to sell the business, Joe Reis was the right person to sell to in order to continue a high standard of customer service.
"We did look around and we figures Joe was the best one to represent us because he has a lot of experience with Case and for him, the customer is always number one," she said. "We know he'll do all his best."