With restrictions remaining in place for another month, farm equipment dealers are having to be creative as they work to serve farmers ahead of planting. While the doors are locked and the showroom lights off, Bane Welker Equipment stores are still open for business. “We are open for business; we are answering the phones; we are taking orders for parts,” says Coy Patton, Complex Parts Director with Bane Welker. He says they are encouraging customers to use the phone or their online parts system to get what they need, “We are encouraging our customers to call into their store, talk to the parts team, get their lists together of things they need or even things they might need over the next few weeks.” BWE will then get the parts needed and place them in a drop box outside each store location.
Patton, says they will still deliver to the farm, but staff will employ social distancing while there. BWE employees are also cleaning their store locations and even the parts before they send them out. He said so far their staff is in good health and most customers have been understanding of the need for the rather extreme measures.
Mitch Frazier, CEO of Reynolds Farm Equipment, told HAT they have also closed their showrooms, “This has then the longest period the showrooms have been closed to the public in the firm’s 65 year history.” Their parts and service departments are still operating and customers can call in for help with parts and service.
Frazier admits doing business this way is a real challenge but necessary, “As a farm community, it is important that we all come together to help stop the spread of COVID-19 yet, at the same time, help farmers get prepared for this planting season. It is vital that we get this right.” Reynolds has imposed over 20 steps to maintain service to farmers while protecting their employees and the public.
Other equipment dealers around the state contacted by HAT have reported similar actions being taken until the end of April. Farmers are encouraged to check with their local dealer for exact details and procedures.