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Construction Equipment Guide
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Thu August 05, 2021 - Southeast Edition #16
During and after the pandemic, when some in the industry were scaling down, cutting back, or just "waiting to see what the future held," Lashley Tractor was busy doing a complete facility renovation, while also renaming and rebranding itself.
When the dust cleared, Lashley Tractor was split into two separate entities and re-emerged as Lashley Kubota and Loader Source — both housed in the same facility in Stonecrest, Ga.
Owner/operators of the business, Jeff and Ken Lashley said the renovation/rebranding project began around Thanksgiving of 2020 and wrapped up at the beginning of second quarter of 2021. The process came about after the departure of the New Holland line.
"With Kubota being such a predominate part of our business, the name change seemed obvious and made sense," Jeff Lashley said. "Since Kubota represents so much more than tractors nowadays, we thought the tractor name after Lashley might be a bit limiting of the perception of what we offer. Because we already needed new signs, the timing was right to do a complete renovation, from floors, to knocking out walls, all the way to fresh paint."
Ken Lashley added, "We've been in this facility for over 27 years. It was a nice facility when we first moved in and it just became dated over the years. The project was over $400,000 and considered a rather minimal investment in comparison to ‘fresh builds' right now.
"There are more things we considered rebuilding, but what we've completed is just the right amount of things to do for right now. In the past, we kept adding offices and the showroom contracted down to where we could put one machine in it. We really wanted to open it back up to display various machines while taking the opportunity to reconfigure the parts counter, and how we wanted to handle service, parts and rentals functions all within the same area. We've now put them all in one area, which helps with more inter department cross talk and information sharing."
Ownership of the company has always been a family affair. Gary Lashley founded the company more than 31 years ago and now Ken Lashley is the general manager and Jeff Lashley is the controller.
Staffing has essentially remained the same and the business climate has continued to be robust. Jeff said that during the renovation he was happy that the company continued to maintain the same staff as it now has, despite a bit of a dip in business at the beginning of the COVID pandemic. Afterward, he said business was booming and continues to be.
The second "prong" of Lashley's overall business is Loader Source. This is an ASV product centered business unit. According to Jeff Lashley, since ASV is a premium brand, it now has its own business name.
"We've carried the line since 2003, but with rebranding, we wanted to provide a business name specific to the ASV product. It just made more sense for our business model and for representing the product line. It's been a good product line for us to carry and is getting better all the time.
"We're very pleased with rebranding and acceptance by the market and our actual renovations. It's hard to tell which has been more beneficial. I think our customers like to see that we're doing well, that we're going to be around for some time, and that we're reinvesting in our business."
Both Jeff and Ken said that their overall goal is to continue to build the brands they already have and to maximize them in all aspects — sales/rentals/parts/service — and to continue to improve customer service levels.