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Meade Tractor Acquires Eight Construction Dealerships

Meade Tractor is analyzing its entire operation to determine which of its facilities are in need of an upgrade to better represent the John Deere brand.

Thu July 09, 2015 - Southeast Edition
Eric Olson

Chuck (L) and Charles Meade are currently involved in the day-to-day operations of Meade Tractor.
Chuck (L) and Charles Meade are currently involved in the day-to-day operations of Meade Tractor.
Chuck (L) and Charles Meade are currently involved in the day-to-day operations of Meade Tractor. Darlene Mullins (L), product support manager, and David Arwood, parts counter sales, help their customer David Meade, Meade Logging in Morristown, Tenn. Andrew Bishop (L), shop supervisor, and Bryan Sage, customer support advisor.

One of the most trusted names in the Southeast for providing agricultural and turf equipment has now expanded its reach to include construction equipment in Tennessee and Kentucky, according to the company.

Meade Tractor, with headquarters in Bristol, Tenn., has recently finalized the acquisition of eight John Deere Construction and Forestry branches from Nortrax.

Meade’s newest full-service dealerships are located in Louisville, Bowling Green, London and Richmond, Ky., along with Chattanooga, Knoxville, Kingsport and Nashville, Tenn.

With the dealership purchases, Meade now boasts a total of 15 dealerships offering a variety of equipment and services in the mid-south region.

Meade’s seven other locations are John Deere agricultural and turf dealerships in eastern Tennessee, western North Carolina, southwestern Virginia and southern West Virginia. They have been in operation by the family-run dealership since Meade Tractor began in 2010.

“The Meade family has been fortunate to have been given this opportunity with John Deere to grow our current business model,” said Chuck Meade, president of Meade Tractor. “They recognized that we have AG and Turf locations in the Virginia-Tennessee market and we are working to create a generational family business. We have a strong partnership with John Deere and now we are the authorized heavy construction equipment dealer for them in these markets.”

He credits the robust health of Meade Tractor to its alliance with John Deere, but also in large measure to the efforts of his employees.

“Our ability to acquire the construction operations is a direct result of the engagement of our employees and what we have been able to do to support our customers on the AG and Turf side,” Meade said.

An Experienced Family Business

He said that John Deere’s decision to partner with Meade Tractor also was based on the experience the Meade family has in operating dealerships in the area. His father, Charles, ran on-highway truck dealerships for 40 years and today serves as COO for the company’s AG and Turf division.

Chuck Meade himself has 15 years working in sales and management in construction equipment dealerships.

Over the last five years, the collaboration between John Deere and Meade Tractor in agricultural and turf equipment has proven to be a very fruitful association, and Chuck Meade expects that success to continue in the new venture, Meade said.

To Meade, the success of that partnership lives and dies according to the level of customer support that is provided.

“I think that if you look at the construction equipment industry, product support is the most critical aspect of a dealership,” he said. “We are actively involved in making a reinvestment back into the business in terms of additional service trucks and additional technicians. That is extremely important to us. As a result, our top-level management is not necessarily sales-based, but, rather, product-support-based. “

Meade Makes a

Major Commitment

To that end, Meade Tractor is analyzing its entire operation to determine which of its facilities are in need of an upgrade to better represent the John Deere brand. With that done, Meade said, the firm may be reinvesting in up to 70 percent of its dealerships.

Besides being better representative of the brand, he sees this reinvestment as a demonstration to Meade Tractor’s customers and employees of its long term commitment to them and the area.

“We want to show the people in our marketplaces in Kentucky and Tennessee that we are vested in them,” Meade said. “We live and work in these markets and we want to be a partner to our customers and a partner in the communities. This company strives to be a generational dealership where our customers can have confidence that we are going to be around for a long time representing the John Deere product line. “

When Meade Tractor bought the Nortrax dealerships in Kentucky and Tennessee earlier this year, one of the first things the company did was ensure that the stores’ infrastructure — specifically the computer systems — were upgraded to give the best service possible.

Meade said that he and his team have also been visiting customers in the various stores in order to introduce themselves and to convey to them the way Meade Tractor conducts its business.

“Obviously, a company is the sum of its people and we have been very fortunate to retain a lot of the former Nortrax employees,” Meade said, “We have also been lucky enough to bring in a lot of new, talented people as we continue to grow this business.”

John Deere’s Best Offered

Meade Tractor offers a variety of John Deere products and services, including a complete lineup of excavators, wheel loaders, articulated trucks, dozers, skid steers, compact track loaders, tractor loader backhoes and forestry equipment, as well as all of the attachments for those machines.

With the emphasis in 2015 on Tier IV engines in order to reduce diesel emissions from construction equipment, Meade is very enthusiastic about what John Deere manufactures in order to cut down on air pollution.

“Meade Tractor has a lot of experience with Tier IV engines from our AG and Turf business and we have been very impressed with what we have seen of the John Deere Tier IV engines,” he said. “When somebody thinks of John Deere, they obviously think of well-made construction and agricultural equipment. I think as a manufacturer, John Deere has become experts in crafting equipment that operate efficiently and are in high demand.”

Even though John Deere is its main product line, Meade Tractor’s new construction dealerships also will carry several ancillary lines, including Bomag compaction equipment and NPK hydraulic hammers. In addition, Meade said that the company is currently looking to add other equipment lines that best fit what its customers want.

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