Prior to establishing his own business, Bob Woods handled the Bobcat account as division manager for a major construction distributor in New Jersey for 13 years. With his strong background in sales and knowledge of the Bobcat line, he established his own dealership in Howell with his wife, Angela, in 1984. The firm’s initial area of operation included central and southern New Jersey.
Woods choice to handle the Bobcat line was especially timely as the economy was improving at the time and construction was increasing. In order to get off to a strong start, Woods took to the road himself after operating as a manager for several years, to make sales while also supervising the efforts of three other support staff. Angela handled the office responsibilities, and the husband and wife team built an organization that has surpassed expectations.
With the focus on utilizing Bobcats in landscaping, masonry work and concrete and asphalt operations, and through his personal leadership, the fledgling company got off to a great start. Where in the past approximately five Bobcat units had been sold annually, Woods turned many heads when he sold 40 units in seven months. The firm was off to a great start.
Over the next few years, the company added additional manufacturers to its equipment line. Within two years, the company was appointed a Dig-It tow-behind and tractor-loader-backhoe (TLB) dealer and within a few more years, the firm added the Towmaster trailer line.
By 1988, activities were progressing so well, Woods moved his operation to a new 10,000-sq.-ft. headquarters, on 4 acres, on Route 33 in Freehold.
In the early 1990s, Garden State Bobcat was serving construction contractors, subcontractors, the industrial and commercial sectors and governmental agencies at all levels.
The construction segment of the business has been especially diverse. Markets have included aggregate plants, recycling centers, asphalt, masonry, concrete, excavators, homebuilders, site contractors, demolition and environmental firms.
Some heavy construction firms that the company has served over the years include: William Bowman Group; Richard E. Pierson contracting; D’Annunzio & Sons; J.F. Kiely Construction; Halecon; Debranello Contracting; Bil-Jim Construction; and Henkels & McCoy.
Garden State Bobcat has continued its growth since the early 1990s. During that period, the company was appointed a Mitsui Distribution TCM wheel loader dealer and opened another facility, named South Jersey Bobcat, which is now located on 1.5 acres on Hurffville-Crosskey Road in Washington Township (Camden County).
Five years ago, Bobcat of Central Jersey was established on Lincoln Boulevard in Middlesex and just a year ago, Bobcat of Trenton was opened to serve the Mercer County area. The company also includes Staten Island as a territory.
By operating at the four New Jersey locations, Woods has found that his firm can be more responsive to client needs. By being located closer to his firm’s customer base, Woods and his staff can provide the local support that is foremost in their business philosophy. In fact, plans are in place to replace the Middlesex facility with a new location on Route 22 in Green Brook. The company also is expanding its Freehold headquarters as well.
The latest development for Garden State Bobcat was its recently being named as the Ingersoll-Rand utility dealer for central and southern New Jersey. This added line of equipment supplements the firm’s existing products and will add to its sales, rental and parts business. It is clear that Woods has achieved much more than he envisioned when he launched his business 20 years ago.
A number of key employees have assisted Woods in the success of the firm since its founding.
Ray Bickel has been with the company for 15 years as parts and service coordinator, while Cheryl Stager has been with the firm for 10 years and currently serves as rental coordinator at South Jersey Bobcat. Serving as service manager for the company is Scott Smith who has been with the company for eight years.
Ed Richmond has been with the firm for four years and is the manager of Bobcat of Central Jersey, while Mike Schlessinger is the vice president of sales who has been with the company for three years.
Rob Woods, Bob and Angela’s son, has worked with the company since high school and before graduating from college. He currently serves as manager of Bobcat of Trenton and South Jersey Bobcat. The firm employs approximately 40 people.
Woods has positioned his company to serve the needs of his client base in his territories. He certainly has achieved much and served well during those first 20 years.
(This article appears courtesy of “Utility and Transportation Contractor” magazine.)