Ray Romano opened RJV Equipment in 2010.
Ray Romano, proprietor of RJV Equipment, saw a need in the Nashville and Knoxville areas for a construction equipment dealer that offered superior product support.
To meet that need, he founded RJV Equipment in 2010. Initially, the company provided Ditch Witch equipment in middle and east Tennessee and southwest Virginia. It has offered Kubota construction equipment products in the Nashville area since 2011 and, more recently, in Knoxville since March 2018.
"Both manufacturers we represent are very, very well-known for their durability, reliability and toughness for the type of business that you have in Tennessee," Romano said. "It's very rocky almost everywhere you go.
"Kubota has been phenomenal on their quality. Ditch Witch is a niche, specialized product and they have been for many years the best product on the market. We have the best rock drilling system in the industry. When it comes to rock, people want Ditch Witch."
From the beginning, Romano knew that high-quality products deserve high-quality service, and he attributes his company's success primarily to painstaking equipment care.
"I think Knoxville was really looking for a dealer to step up and provide much better product support," he said. "You can always find a cheaper machine, but when it breaks down or you need another one, people learn pretty quickly that, well, it was a nice price at the time, but they can't support me. So, we're getting a lot of referrals from our existing customers and new people coming and looking for a better dealer that has better product support."
RJV Equipment, which does business as Ditch Witch of Tennessee and RJV Kubota, maintains a fleet of small service trucks for normal maintenance such as oil changes and diagnostics, as well as full-capability service trucks equipped with cranes, welders and air compressors. In addition, every sales and service person has a pickup truck, and the company encourages and pays employees to undergo training both online and at factory schools.
"We try to have support from sales people all the way back through the service department," Romano said. "We've spent a lot of time and money investing in our people. We're extremely proud of our reputation."
Another source of pride — and a major source of expansion — is the rental side of the business. In a niche market such as the one served by Ditch Witch, Romano explained, dealers in the past have been loath to rent equipment. That hesitation became a thing of the past in middle and eastern Tennessee when RJV arrived on the scene.
"We are probably one of the more aggressive dealers in the rental side of the business — whether it be mini-skid steers; small walk-behind trenchers; or big drills," Romano said. "Some dealers don't rent drills, but we do." We rent all the Kubota Construction Equipment products.
When RJV first occupied its current, 6,000-sq.-ft. facility on Dutchtown Road in Knoxville, Romano foresaw the business would probably outgrow it within a few years. His prediction came true as construction picked up in the region and RJV began handling the Kubota line. As a result, the company soon will move to roomier digs on Rudy Street near Interstate 275. The new facility will offer more than twice the space, with 14,500 sq. ft. on more than 5 acres, including an 8,500-sq.-ft. service area that can easily house a dozen machines at a time.
"This really gives us the capacity to have both Ditch Witch and Kubota products as well as growth going forward," Romano said.