With Eye on Thriving Construction Market, Tiger Brings On New Iron

Thu March 04, 2004 - Southeast Edition

For 10 years, Tiger Equipment Co., based in Jacksonville, NC, had primarily supplied eastern North Carolina with used equipment. But in recent years, the company has found tremendous success with new equipment lines.

Kevin Willis, a 20-year industry veteran, took over Tiger Equipment in 1999. His father Randy, who has 35 years of experience in the construction industry, founded the dealership 12 years ago.

From the start, the company sold and serviced used equipment from Raleigh, NC, to the coast. Taking note of a thriving construction market, Willis decided to carry three lines of new equipment –– Terex, ASV and, most recently, Morbark.

Two years ago, Willis found interest in the growing forestry market and turned to ASV. “We looked at several companies for the opportunity to move into forestry and mowing,” he said. “[ASV] has a real good track system. It was the first new line we picked up.”

About six months later, Tiger Equipment picked up the Terex backhoe, excavator and compaction lines. Two months ago, the company signed on with Morbark.

“We decided, because of issues with forestry and burning, to enter the recycling market,” said Willis, noting that two sales have been made since picking up the line.

The company also carries AGCO and Long Farm tractors and Bush Hog farm equipment.

Tiger Equipment’s four-man service team has been factory-trained on all the new lines the company carries. Tiger currently has a 6,000-sq.-ft. service facility with one overhead crane, but it is preparing to build a much larger facility two miles down the road, said Willis. “The 15,000-square-foot building should be ready by the end of the year,” he said.

According to Branch Manager James Thurman, Tiger Equipment has all the special tools required to service all the equipment the company carries. Along with a $70,000 parts inventory, Tiger has a two-truck service fleet that travels up to 200 miles to service equipment as necessary.

“Usually,” said Thurman, “we can have a guy in and out on a big job within a week.”

Tiger also has a pickup and delivery service for all the equipment it sells.

Willis said the new lines have been a boost to his company. “What we’ve done with the new equipment has really helped us out a lot,” he said, noting that the company will have a new 47,000-lb. Terex excavator ready to purchase in a few weeks. “Business has really picked up over the last few years. We just plan on expanding as business gets better and better. And, we plan to take on different lines as needed to help our customers.”

Tiger Equipment is located at 4181 New Bern Highway in Jacksonville, NC, off of Highway 17 North.

For more information, call 910/346-1932.