One might think that after serving in Iraq with the U.S. Marines during the first Gulf War that Cole Leavitt’s enlistment into his father’s business, Gorham Tractor & Equipment Co., would be a walk in the park.
Business, though, is never that easy and can be replete with its own form of landmines, avoidable by good planning, smart decisions and gaining — and keeping — customers’ respect. And Cole and his father, Pat Leavitt, have done just this, which has helped them forge a very successful business in just 15 years.
Pat founded Gorham Tractor & Equipment Co. in 1989 and set up shop in Scarborough, ME. There, in the first 10 years of business, the company emphasized used equipment sales. Approximately six years ago, the Leavitts moved to a new facility in Buxton, ME, and on the heels of that, they opened another facility at 27 Dover Rd., in Chichester, NH. At this time, the company shifted its attention to new equipment sales by adding new lines such as Sakai asphalt and dirt compaction equipment; Viper aggregate equipment; and Daewoo excavators and loaders, which Gorham added just last year.
“Daewoo has been a wonderful addition to our product offering,” said Cole Leavitt, vice president of Gorham, who recently participated in the Daewoo facility tours in South Korea and China. “Daewoo has put us in a position to be taken seriously by the excavating contractors and even some of the large general contractors in Maine and New Hampshire. Daewoo products are very strong, reliable and technology advanced and their reputation is solid. Plus, they offer us a very strong pricing advantage, and that pricing advantage is what has gotten us in the door with many northern New England contractors.”
And Daewoo’s sales have been “astounding,” according to Cole. “We have put a substantial number of new loaders and excavators into the hands of end users across northern New England. We have been amazed by the products’ reliability. I can honestly say thus far Gorham Tractor and our customers have been very satisfied with the products offered by Daewoo.”
What else has gotten contractors through the doors at Gorham is the company’s tremendous investment in its facilities: its parts and service staff are factory trained and the firm currently has two well equipped service trucks to ensure that it can provide the “in the field” service that customers demand with new equipment purchases.
And large general contractors have taken notice.
R.J. Grondin Industries, in Westbrook, ME, is one of the largest GCs and aggregate producers in New England that have purchased Daewoo iron from Gorham Tractor. R.J. Grondin already had an established, good working relationship with Gorham through renting and purchasing compaction equipment over the past several years, and their business relationship grew even stronger with the purchase of two Daewoo excavators — an S300LCV and an S225LCV. (R.J. also owns five Sakai SV505D dirt compactors that it purchased from Gorham Tractor.)
Another satisfied Daewoo customer is Ralph Vance, of Ralph Vance Land Development in Windham, ME. Vance has been in business in the Portland area for the past 35 years. His company currently is clearing and developing an 81-unit subdivision in the Windham area. Vance also has had past experience with Gorham Tractor, having purchased used equipment from the company on several occasions over the past few years, and this summer, Vance purchased a Daewoo 255 LCV 54,000-lb. (24,494 kg) excavator.
Gorham’s reputation had everything to do with this purchase, according to Vance.
“To be perfectly honest, the biggest reason I felt comfortable purchasing the Daewoo excavator is my relationship with Cole Leavitt,” he said. “Over the years, Cole has given me reason to have complete trust in his work. He told us we would be very satisfied with the Daewoo product and he was absolutely right. The Daewoo has been quicker, tighter, and stronger than any excavator we have ever owned. The breakout force is really impressive. We use a two and a quarter yard bucket on this site, which would be too much for most excavators this size and the Daewoo handles it nearly effortlessly.”
For more information, call 207/929-3333, or visit www.gorhamtractor.com.