Picture four men sitting around a kitchen table. The discussion is serious, but the conversation isn’t strained. The topic is the challenge farmers in southern Ohio face when trying to find the equipment they need and knowledgeable people to service it. To the business owners having the conversation, the solution is fairly obvious, challenging as it may be. When the chairs slide back from the table the men shake hands and a unique relationship is formed with the goal of better serving southern Ohio’s agricultural community.
That is how Harold Neuenschwander and Marcus Miller of Harold’s Equipment and Mick Heiby and Frank Burkett of Hills Supply brought two of Ohio’s strongest agricultural service companies together to offer better customer service and more equipment options in Southern Ohio. Harold’s Equipment and Hills Supply began working together out of Washington Court House in January of this year. It’s not an acquisition and it’s not a buyout of any kind. These are two companies coming together to bring new solutions to their customers. It is truly a strategic relationship that opens up new ground for their mutual customers by increasing the variety of equipment available and bringing together nearly 80 years of combined experience.
Harold’s Equipment co-owner Marcus Miller explained the origins of the relationship like this. “Harold and I had observed a need in Southern Ohio for local customer service to the agricultural community. The limited options for both equipment and service were complicating an already challenging business environment for those farmers. We take this so seriously that my wife Leah and I picked up and moved to Washington Court House and I want to thank her for making this all possible,” Miller said.
Hills Supply co-owner Mick Heiby added, “Harold Neuenschwander and Marcus Miller appreciate and value customers just like Frank Burkett and I do. We all have personal connections to agriculture that drive us to serve those farming families the best we possibly can.”
Through the new relationship, customers will have increased flexibility to choose the best-in-class equipment to fit their specific farming needs especially in the areas of feed management equipment, manure management, and automated milking. Location Manager Kenny Kuhns is standing by to help the local agricultural community and brings genuine interest and experience to the role. He is also able to draw from the over 50 combined employees of the two companies including animal health specialists, robotic milking experts, and service technicians to meet the needs of farmers in a part of Ohio that has been underserved.
“As more and more dairies move towards robotic milking the need for automated feed systems has increased as well. The DeLaval VMS robotic milkers offered by Hills Supply match up perfectly with the Trioliet robotic feed kitchens provided by Harold’s Equipment. We have been working together offering these solutions for quite a while already so sharing office and shop space just allows us to better serve our customers,” said Harold Neuenschwander.
Not many business deals are made around the kitchen table anymore, but in this case the trust and friendship of four agricultural leaders led to a great relationship that will serve Ohio’s ag community and each company’s employees for many years to come.
“Just like our customers, we are always looking for ways to be more efficient. In this case, sharing office and shop space allows us to pass some savings along to our mutual customers while offering them broader solutions,” said Frank Burkett of Hills Supply.
The companies will celebrate by welcoming customers to an open house at the Washington Court House location, 2782 US 22 NW Washington Courthouse, OH 43160, on April 9, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m/. It will be an opportunity for Harold’s customers to meet the Hills Supply staff and for Hills customers to meet the Harold’s Equipment team. Representatives from key suppliers like Trioliet, DeLaval, GEA Houle, Mueller, Patz, Calf Star, Afi Milk, and others will be available to answer questions and demonstrate equipment as well.
As Mick Heiby says often, “if it’s good for our employees and it’s good for our customers, the rest will work itself out just fine.”