WILLISTON - John Deere has a long and proud tradition in the agricultural business, and Gooseneck Implement is excited to bring that tradition to even more customers with the opening of a newly acquired dealership in Williston.
The Williston store is the eighth for Gooseneck Implement, and joins dealerships in Harvey, Minot, Mohall, Rugby, Stanley, Velva and Kenmare, which is the corporate headquarters.
Brad Meyer, store manager in Williston, said they opened the doors Dec. 1 and transitioned the business from former John Deere dealer Haugen's Inc.
"It was a family-owned business for nearly 40 years," Meyer said.
Haugen's Inc. also sold a few other lines of equipment that Gooseneck Implement will not be carrying. Instead the John Deere line will be expanded to include skid steers, which had previously only been sold at the Stanley store, and sprayers, which all the other stores sell as well.
"We'll be a full-line John Deere dealer, including skid steers," Meyer said. "That's one of the new products here at John Deere."
"We are what Deere would call a commercial spray center dealership," he added. "So we're one of the ones that covers that market."
Along with skid steers and sprayers, the Williston store also handles the full line of traditional John Deere ag equipment, which Meyer said is basically anything painted green.
Store hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Those hours will vary during the busy planting and harvest seasons when farmers are most busy. The phone number is 572-6724 or 1-800-932-8736 and the address is 5501-2nd Ave. W.
One of their big growth initiatives on the product side is the AMS precision farming line.
"We really feel there's a big opportunity for that in this area, and have a good background of support for those products from our other stores, and hope to bring that to this area as well," Meyer said.
Something else they hope to expand is the RTK (Real Time Kinematic) network, which uses satellites and land-based towers to provide sub-inch guidance accuracy. It basically provides the accuracy of auto steer technology so the tractor never goes over the same patch of ground twice, which is especially helpful during seeding when even a little bit of overlap can add unnecessarily to input costs.
"So your tractor will always be within an inch. If you go back six months from now, it would be right on where it was. The tower gives you that reference point to make sure," Meyer said. "We have those networks set up in the Minot, Rugby, Kenmare, Mohall area already. Customers are asking for that and we think long term there's probably a need for that same level of accuracy here."
Just as important as the John Deere equipment are the employees who sell and service it. Meyer said they are keeping all the employees from Haugen's Inc., which numbers around 20. On top of the current employees, a new salesman has been recently hired, so the staff is already expanding.
Meyer said they are looking for employees in other areas of the store as well. Anyone interested can drop by the Williston store for an application or call Teresa King at the Minot store, which is 852-0767 or 1-800-735-4077.
Meyer would also like to increase training to get everyone up to speed on the latest products.
"We like technology. We like to be on the leading edge of technology, whether it's customer level, employees' training, the systems we use, all that kind of stuff. You know, my office is right here," Meyer said, placing a hand on his laptop computer. "We like to make sure everybody's up to speed on the latest technology, so training's a big part of that."
There will be some minor remodeling done to the dealership in the form of more office space, Meyer said. He also noted they will be building a new combine storage facility for customers because the current one is too small. That should be ready to go before next winter.
Another service Gooseneck Implement will provide the Williston area is a massive parts inventory that literally encompasses all eight stores. If a customer needs a part Williston doesn't have, Meyer said they can search the inventory of all the other stores and if the part is in stock anywhere it can be trucked in. Currently, a truck runs to Williston three times a week, but Meyer said they would like to change that to daily.
Getting something from any store and shipping it up to Williston not only works with parts, but with machinery as well. If a customer needs a top-of-the-line tractor and Williston doesn't have it, they can most likely get it from somewhere else.
"The other thing we'll be bringing is a group of support people, of course from other stores, that are available to this store," Meyer said. "My former job was a product support rep for all the stores, and the reason it's important here is my job is just to support our people and our customers."
"When employees have resources they do a lot better job supporting customers," he added.
Meyer said Gooseneck is glad to be in Williston and calls it a good fit for the area. He noted Gooseneck had a lot of customers in the area before they took on the Williston store, so this will allow them to better support their existing customers as well as reach out to new ones.
"We're sure glad to be here, because it really fits our goals to support northwest North Dakota. We've got most of northwest North Dakota, and we really want to support those customers," he said. "We already were doing a lot of business in the Ambrose, Fortuna, Crosby area anyway, and so a lot of customers who have walked in this store to see me I've already known from working with them previously."