(L-R): Dennis Gallagher Sr., Westchester Tractor; John Maxner, Maxner Landscaping; and Frank Labarbera, retired from Westchester Tractor, alongside a Kobelco SK210 excavator.
Maxner Landscaping specializes in residential and commercial landscaping, tree planting, excavation and trucking. In the winter months, the company has a considerable snow removal business.
The company was founded by John Maxner 40 years ago. Maxner, who got his business started as a young man essentially mowing lawns, had some experience in property maintenance and landscaping working for his dad, but eventually he ventured out on his own. Through hard work and strategic planning, the company grew way beyond landscape and property maintenance.
Today, the company owns a fleet of earthmoving equipment and does site excavation, foundation work and property clearing. Besides homeowners, its landscape and lawn maintenance customers include local school districts, as well as condo and apartment complexes.
Nearly the entire fleet of construction equipment owned by Maxner Landscaping, with the exception of trucks, was purchased at Westchester Tractor in Brewster, N.Y.
"As I grew up in this area working for other companies it was almost automatic," Maxner said. "If you bought equipment, you went down to Westchester Tractor who, at that time, was located in Goldens Bridge, N.Y, to buy your equipment. Since then, they moved their operations to Brewster, N.Y.
"They were perfect for our type of operation," he added. "They sell the smaller machines like mowers from Kubota that we still need today and definitely needed when we were starting up. As we grew, we bought our woodchippers, our Hitachi loaders, as well as our Kobelco excavators from Westchester Tractor."
Maxner has a significant crew, but he still at times operates all of the equipment himself and he has become knowledgeable and comfortable with the earthmoving equipment.
"I am very happy with the Hitachi loader," he said. "It loads dirt and mulch for us most of the year and salt and sand in the winter months. It's a very reliable machine, very quiet operating engine and pretty much bullet proof.
"Snow removal has become a huge part of our business. To maintain the landscaping contract with some of our bigger customers it has become a necessary evil.
"The snow removal contracts are very demanding on your time and resources. Our equipment has to be in great working order. That's why we also bought five Kage snow pushers from Westchester Tractor. It's the only snow pusher on the market that I'm aware of that actually rotates. As far as I'm concerned, it's the best snow pusher on the market and a real labor saver.
"Another great tool that we purchased from Westchester Tractor and we use year-round in the landscaping and snow removal business is a pair of New Holland L320 skid steers. We equipped them with cab heat and air-conditioning. New Holland has a great reputation in skid steers."
The most recent significant purchase that Maxner Landscaping made was a Kobelco SK 210 excavator equipped with a thumb and a 4,000-lb. hammer. Maxner is about to tackle a significant site project and the Kobelco with its hammer is perfectly sized for the project.
Over the years in acquiring his fleet of equipment from Westchester Tractor, Maxner dealt almost exclusively with Frank Labarbera. There is a lifetime of trust between the two individuals — after Labarbera graduated from college he worked for Maxner's father for a short while, along with Maxner. The two men also had grown up as neighbors.
"Frank is not the only reason that I have a lifetime of loyalty to Westchester Tractor," Maxner said. "When I bought my first piece of equipment, I didn't have any credit. John Apple, who owned the company, actually personally co-signed for me to get my first piece of equipment. Nobody does that. There's a chance I wouldn't be where I am today without that act of faith John had in me.
"It's not just the experience we have with Westchester Tractor on the front of the sale that keeps us coming back. It's also the experience on the back end of the sale; the support we receive after the sale.
"There's a transition happening now. Frank is retiring and we have a new sales rep coming in, Dennis Gallagher Sr. I suspect this is also going to be a good experience. Dennis has worked for many years on the service side of Westchester Tractor, so I look forward to getting his insight on what equipment to buy from his mechanical aspect and his help with support after the sale."
When asked about the future of his business Maxner said, "I really don't want to grow this business much more than it is right now. COVID changed how I look at a lot of things. It changed a lot of my priorities and getting help has become almost impossible. We have been very fortunate with the employees that we do have. They have become like friends and family." CEG
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