(L-R) are Dave Olver, sales — Kubota product manager; Earl Marshall, president; Michael Montambault, marketing; Tim Corcoran, branch sales and rental manager; and Bobby VanBlarcom, sales — used equipment manager
Marshall Machinery is a familiar name in the northeast Pennsylvania area. Founded as a used dairy farm equipment dealer in 1959 by John Marshall, the company expanded its offerings, first with the Allis Chalmers manufacturer line, before adding Kubota in the early 1980s. The company has since grown into one of the largest distributors of Kubota construction equipment in the Northeast.
Earl Marshall, second-generation owner, grew up working in the business started by his father. Earl learned the business from the ground up as soon as he was big enough to push a broom: sweeping floors and stocking parts were among the first of tasks he was assigned. As he grew older, he loaded up and drove delivery trucks.
Earl has worked in virtually every role within the organization — parts, service and sales — learning the business from the ground up. In 2005, he took over the reins to Marshall Machinery. For the first project that same year, a new facility was built in Honesdale, Pa., to keep up with the increasing success and demand from customers. The new building is still located on the original dairy farm owned by John Marshall. Integrated into the new facility is Marshall's own fabrication and body shop.
Crediting his early hard work, determination and dedication to the company, Marshall Machinery has marked substantial growth and acquisition in the past five years. In 2016, the Swiftwater, Pa., location was purchased. In 2018, Middletown, N.Y., was added underneath the Marshall banner. Then, 2021 saw some of the largest gains and changes for the company, starting in February with the relocation of the Swiftwater branch to Tannersville, Pa. One month later, the South Abington Township, Pa., branch was purchased and added under the Marshall name. Another opportunity became available to purchase a location in Johnson City, N.Y., later that year, and Earl decided yet again to expand.
Expansion was not limited to more territory or locations — it also included adding manufacturer lines, including Kobelco, Link-Belt, Rayco, Morbark, Ventrac, Scag, Gravely and Pequea. According to Earl, the core of the business is compact construction equipment, from the large contractors, to farmers, to plumbers and builders.
"From a business standpoint, we have been very fortunate that demand for our product has been strong," Earl said about expanding and growing the business during the COVID pandemic. "There have been some supply chain challenges, which added a whole new level to the business, but we have been able to work through it. I always tell people it's been extremely challenging, extremely painful and extremely wonderful all at the same time."
Most of the Marshall expansion had been in the works before the pandemic, and Earl decided to not let that sway him or his more than 115 employees.
"Having volume with vendors is crucial to be able to take care of our customers in this environment," he said. "I focus on our team, and then our team can focus on our customers. If everyone has a role they can perform, and they can excel at that, then our customers benefit as well as our own people."
Earl credits much success with being able to give his employees the trust and power to deal with their own day-to-day:
"A very important part of how we operate in empowering the branch managers in our organization," he said.
When asked about future plans and growth potential, Earl was ready with his response.
"We think there is a right size for Marshall Machinery, but we aren't sure yet what that is," he said. "We still have opportunity to grow and keep a quality team and business for our customers. We have no vision of being a mega dealership, because we still want to be able to maintain the personal relationships with our customers." CEG
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