Bissett Specialty Equipment Inc.
A little nut is the driving factor in a big equipment business for Bissett Specialty Equipment Inc. (BSE). The Texas-based agricultural equipment dealer and maintenance provider has been supporting the pecan and other specific farming operations ranging from onions to chilies since 1988. Today, BSE is one of the area’s largest dealers of New Holland, Nissan, McCormick, Savage, Flory, Air-O-Fan and PBM sprayers and much more.
Carl Bissett, now president, owner, sales manager and jack-of-all-trades at BSE, was born and raised on a dairy farm in Michigan. Growing up around farming equipment and operations, he was always drawn to the industry. “I started working for New Holland and ended up staying there for nearly 15 years before purchasing BSE,” recalls Bissett.
A Nut-sized Niche
Bissett purchased the company in 1988 under the name El Paso Ford New Holland and began building the business around the area’s thriving pecan industry. “We changed the name to BSE in 2000 to better reflect the equipment we handle and the fact that we’re a little more specialized than basic tractors and haying tools,” he notes.
The company began with low-profile and mid-range tractors. “When the pecan business really started to take off we started handling more lines,” adds Bissett. “BSE has now been in business for 26 years and we support specialty farming operations, providing equipment from harvesters to shakers, sprayers and hedgers to pruners… basically all kinds of equipment for the pecan industry.”
Today, Bissett remains headquartered in El Paso, but the company has grown to serve farming operations in New Mexico and Arizona, as well. “We have about 15 employees and we cover nut equipment for the whole state, but pecans are only grown in certain areas in Texas,” details Bissett.
On-call Maintenance and Peace of Mind
With a vast majority of precision equipment for the pecan, onion, chili and even grape industry, BSE understands that time equals money for its farmer customers. “Our level of service sets us apart because we take extra good care of our customers,” shares Bissett. “We feel and our customers feel like we do a great job with maintenance, service and parts. If we get a call about something breaking down we’ll go out there, no matter how far and service the product.”
BSE’s parts and service department is 100 percent in-house. “We do all of our service and maintenance with our team, buying the parts direct from the manufacturer and this gives our customers peace of mind,” adds Bissett. “We also have a rental line, including 68 forklifts and tractors.”
The company’s product lines run the full gamut of crop production, from harvesting equipment to handling, cleaning and washing to de-stoning, BSE supports a farming operation every step of the way. “We’ve recently added Jack Rabbit handling equipment and AMI, a cleaning plant manufacturer,” notes Bissett. “We just recently took on AMI and we’re looking to get that rolling before adding any other new lines. We added AMI not only to increase sales and attract new customers but also to support our existing customer base.”
Even with a sluggish economy and a record drought season, Bissett says he’s confident that BSE’s business won’t be drying up anytime soon. “2008 to 2010 were certainly not the best time to be in the retail business, but the last three years have been very good and 2014 looks even better,” he reveals.
Pecans, which are the only commercially grown nut in Texas, native to most of the state’s river valleys, begin growing in early spring and continue into early fall, requiring deep, loose and well-watered soil for excellent growth. Since mid-2013, the drought has slowed business a bit as farmers struggle to get enough water to turn over crops. “If farmers aren’t making money it hurts us in turn because we’re predominately agriculture-based, but as my old boss use to say, ‘people are going to eat,’ so there will always be a need for commodity crops,” explains Bissett.
BSE continues to support the farming operations that have made it successful over the last 26 years. “We put a lot of effort into taking care of our customers because they take care of us,” adds Bissett. “We’re focusing on new and improved product lines such as AMI and attracting new customers. My hope is that we keep growing and in 10 years I hope I have someone ready to take it over and keep things going strong.” Bissett Specialty Equipment Inc. continues to support farmers and growers in Texas with operation-critical equipment, trusted maintenance and service.