As the year 2008 was winding down and the country's dire economic crisis was heating up, Greg Poole III had to make one of the toughest decisions of his career as an equipment distributor. Having just broken ground on what was to become the latest outpost of his family business — Gregory Poole Equipment Co. — in Mebane, N.C., Poole's choice was to either stop construction altogether or weather the financial storm and open this new location as planned the following year.
"We had the opportunity to halt construction and abandon our vision, but we didn't, we kept the faith that this was what we were supposed to do and continued on," Poole said when addressing employees in celebration of the Mebane facility's 10th anniversary. "Believe me, the decision to continue was not for the faint of heart!"
It's easy to see why Poole had such high belief in his business given the amount of planning and preparation that went into establishing the new dealership. Caterpillar officials were involved in the conduction of a coverage study that influenced where the new location would be situated in North Carolina to better serve the manufacturer's customers.
"We took that advice and did countless studies for that perfect location that had the easy access that we were looking for, but also the ability to grow and expand should this area take off," Poole said. "We certainly didn't want to box ourselves in down the road."
The economy slowly rebounded and the customers that had been traveling outside of Poole Equipment's region for service started coming to the Mebane facility instead. According to Poole, those clients weren't attracted to the dealership because of its shiny new complex, rather it was the employees and the way they treated them. "People are the reason we are successful," Poole said.
With the Mebane location turning 10 this year, Poole has had some time to reflect on the journey of the operation, which made it through a really bad recession, overcame being the new kid on the block and added new products and service capabilities. In addition, Poole Equipment's Mebane branch is the company's first to work 500,000 hours injury free. It even recently became Cat Level 4 Retail Certified; a laborious process undertaken with hopes of becoming the ideal branch location.
"Our Mebane location continues to amaze us with their accomplishments," Poole said. "At the heart of all of these milestones are a group of people that embrace our core values of ‘Commitment, Integrity, Teamwork, Excellence and Safety.' Without these employees and their passion to serve one another, and ultimately our customers, our branch would simply be bricks and mortar with no soul." CEG
Father and son team Greg Poole III and IV.
The highly visible facility is located along I-85/I-40 at the Trollingwood Road exit in Mebane, N.C.
Greg Poole thanks the dedicated and loyal employees working out of his company’s Mebane, N.C., location.
The original employees of the Mebane, N.C., branch gather with Greg Poole (C); they were each given a portable cooler as a way to say thanks.
Many raffle items were given away; here Evan Griffith receives the grand prize from Greg Poole.
(L-R): Rob Long of Charah Solutions in Roxboro, N.C., with Marshall Bryant and Rob Jackson, both of Gregory Poole Equipment Company.
(L-R): Eddie Williford of Gregory Poole Equipment Company with Christopher and David Stike, both of Sanford Contractors in Sanford, N.C.
Jeff Hinkle (L) of Gregory Poole Equipment Company goes over the new Cat 420F Series 2 backhoe with Kenneth Roney of Chandler Concrete in Burlington, N.C.