When designing Flagler Construction Equipment’s newest location in Ft. Myers, Fla., its owners looked at dealerships across North America.
The extensive study of equipment and automobile dealers resulted in a list of features that were incorporated into the new facility.
The broad concept, said Branch Manager Dean Bengford, is to “enhance the buying experience for the customers.”
Instead of a parts counter, it has individual stations where the customer has one-on-one dealings with the parts representative.
Other aspects benefit the staff, too. The air exchange system in the shop lowers the temperature by five to 10 degrees, creating a more comfortable work environment.
The shop doors don’t roll up; instead it has hydraulic fold-up doors that can be adjusted to control the temperature and amount of sunlight getting into the shop area.
Additionally, each work station has its own lube system, with which the staff can automatically fill fluids. The machine then sends the amount of fluids used into the program that creates work orders, so billing is more accurate.
The 35,000-sq.-ft. branch sits on 9 acres just off Interstate 75. It has an eight-bay shop, a parts department and a wash rack. It replaces a 10,000-sq.-ft. building located on a 2-acre tract.
The sales area is on the second floor and includes a training center for employees and customers.
Bengford has spent his entire career working with construction equipment. He started at Gomaco in 1969 and worked there for 10 years. He then spent a couple of years in the field working for a paving contractor. After that, he moved to Florida in 1981 to work for an equipment dealership. Bengford joined L.B. Smith in 1993 as the branch manager in Ft. Myers and stayed on after L.B. Smith sold its Florida operations to Flagler.
Flagler primarily sells Volvo equipment.
“We have excelled with it in the past,” Bengford said. “The recent addition of the Ingersoll Rand line of road building equipment, pavers and compaction equipment is a plus.”
He said the company has sent its service technicians to training schools and is in the process of hiring new people who already know the Ingersoll Rand line.
“We will be able to fully support contractors working locally on the interstate expansion projects,” Bengford said.
Flagler also sells Gomaco concrete equipment, Champion motorgraders, Broce brooms and hammers from Mauldin and BTI.
The Ft. Myers location covers Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and DeSota counties.
“We work together as a team to take care of our customers,” Bengford said of the staff, which includes 20 mechanics, eight of whom are field service techs. “We look at our customers as partners.”
This branch has been the location of Volvo’s highest marketshare for 10 years and one of its sales reps, Jerry Marani, is consistently the top Volvo salesman in Florida and was once ranked as best in the country.
The new facility was designed by Alfonso Architects in Tampa, Fla. CEG Staff
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