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MachinerySTOP Finds Niche for Servicing Small Contractors

Fri April 06, 2007 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Central Pennsylvania and the Greater Harrisburg area is now the new home of MachinerySTOP Inc., a new construction equipment rental, sales, service and parts company located at 6700 Allentown Blvd. (Route 22), Harrisburg, Pa.

The MachinerySTOP, co-owned by Mike Reilly and Mike Houseknecht, is a full line distributor of Gehl products, but also carries Ingersoll Rand equipment, MMD, Honda, Stone, and Genie and JLG lift equipment in its rental fleet.

“Our target customers are contractors who performs light- to medium-grade construction jobs. We have a heavy emphasis on landscapers, nurseries, concrete and masonry trades, building trades, and small road paving contractors,” explained Reilly.

“As our spring inventory comes in, we will have light equipment for rental and sales to home owners and weekend warriors taking on their small home projects. We hope to have an extensive selection of light equipment as well as one of the largest selections of attachments for skid steers and mini-excavators in the area,” he said.

MachinerySTOP Inc. is located on Route 22, which is the main thoroughfare on the northeast side of Harrisburg running parallel to Route 81. The building is situated on a little more than 3 acres with easy access to the highway. The building itself is 36,000 sq. ft. and Reilly considers the entire west side of the building to be the MachinerySTOP’s main entrance.

“We just refinished the entire warehouse and exterior with a newly remodeled showroom, yard, and shop.

“We occupy 18,000 square feet of warehouse including a 41- by 51-ft. showroom where we have our rental counter and all of our light equipment. The shop space will be somewhere around 15,000 square feet and as we grow we’ll have a first-rate shop because this business is all about service,” Reilly explained.

Currently, the target customers of the MachinerySTOP are located in the Greater Harrisburg area. But Reilly believes that they can realistically serve and cover a 50- to 70-mi. radius from this facility, down through York, outer Lancaster, Pottsville, the 61 Beltway and Allentown in Pennsylvania.

“We’re trying to stay focused on a 20- to -30-mile radius around our facility as our core target area. Our secondary target area will be a 50- to 70-mile radius. We’d like to become a first class, independent rental operation through central Pennsylvania with multiple locations.

“Our growth plan is to get this operation up and running and make it successful by focusing on service to the customer,” he said.

The Beginning

Reilly who grew up in the Harrisburg area joined Ingersoll Rand in 1988 and during his years with the company called on the rental industry around the country. Eventually, he returned to the area of his youth and decided to make a career change.

“About two years ago, I decided I wanted to step out of the manufacturing side of the business and get into the distribution and rental side, which I’ve always called on throughout my career. I partnered with a gentleman named Mike Houseknecht.

“Mike had been in the construction equipment rental and sales business for 25 years. We really believed that we had an advantage, compared to most startup companies. We really know the industry, the customer base, and this side of the business,” Reilly explained.

“We started by looking to get into the business through an acquisition. We couldn’t find the right opportunity, so we decided to do a green field startup. We picked this location because of its proximity to the Harrisburg area, the physical size of the building, and the warehouse area,” he said.

In addition to the two partners, other members of the MachinerySTOP staff include Mike Bradley, Rental Service manager, Dave Feldman, territory manager, and Terry Boylan a 30-year veteran to the construction equipment industry. Bradley was a 17-year employee of Alcoa Metals and Feldman has been selling compact equipment for close to 20 years.

“I wanted to bring on people that had some experience under their belt and some maturity to them. Bradley and Boylan have been my right-hand men for our start-up phase. They helped with a lot of the construction and upgrades to the building and getting us to the point where we’re at now,” said Reilly.

“I consider Dave Feldman to be one of the best compact equipment salespeople in the Harrisburg area. He has been in the industry for 20 years.

“He has been calling directly on the utility contractors, landscapers and light equipment houses in this area for over 10 years with Bobcat and John Deere dealers. He really is in tune with the customer base,” he said.

As the business and staff were taking shape, the entrepreneurs had the opportunity to pick up the full Gehl Distributorship for Central Pennsylvania. MachinerySTOP will sell and rent all the Gehl products. It is the distributor for new products, products parts, and service.

“We were excited about getting the Gehl line, and I think they were very excited about having us. We’re not looking to be a distributor for all the products that are available to us. We want to be selective. Gehl offers an excellent line of light compact equipment, skid steers, track loaders, rough-terrain forklifts, small pavers, which will be one of our cornerstone lines,” Reilly said.

“One of the things that is really important to me and that you’ll see throughout our product mix and in our operations, is that we’re going to lean heavily toward U.S. manufacturers. I’m a firm believer in ’Made in the USA.’ That’s important to us and hopefully important to our customers as well,” Reilly concluded.

For more information, call 717/226-1249 or visit

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