Osceola Implement and Supply Inc.
Osceola Implement and Supply Inc. (OIS) dates back to 1910, when two brothers returning from the war founded Osceola Implement Company representing the Minneapolis Moline Tractor Company equipment. The business began as a small service station, adding services for local farmers and eventually growing into an equipment dealership for the surrounding agricultural industry. Today, the company offers products and services to help growers around Osceola, Neb., operate more efficiently, providing food for consumers across the country.
Todd and Carlie Davidson now own and operate the family business. Todd’s father had worked with the founders of the business and bought into the partnership after working with them for several decades. In 1992 he and his wife, Mary, became the sole owners and eventually sold the business to Todd and his wife, Carlie.
“I grew up on a farm,” Carlie explains. “Todd and I dated in high school before I went off to college for accounting. I was working at the bank in town when we got married and he asked if I wanted to join the business. I kind of fell into it and I trained with my mother-in-law, who kept all the books. I oversee the office and finances and Todd oversees operations as general manager and sales manager.”
Todd has been with the business for 22 years and Carlie has been there for 18 years. Together, the couple works with a staff of approximately 15 people. Because the business is small, the family does not pick up many vacation days, but the Davidsons understand what comes with the territory of owning a small business.
To keep the business running smoothly, the team has built strong and longstanding relationships with suppliers. OIS represents major manufacturers, selling Agco products, including Massey Ferguson and Challenger tractors and combines, Gleaner combines, Sunflower Tillage products, White Planters, Hesston Hay equipment, as well as attachments and accessories from brands such as Brandt, Grasshopper, Unverferth and Strobel Manufacturing. Customers can count on brand-quality, as well as the support and service to back it up.
The company also offers a parts and service department to help keep equipment running efficiently for many years after purchase.
Building an identity in a small town
Agriculture is big business in the small town of Osceola. OIS competes with a John Deere dealership in the same neighborhood, though the next closest equipment dealer is 30 miles away. “What sets us apart is that we are a small family single store business,” Carlie explains. “We put an emphasis on personal care. Our customers can call us at home with questions and we are willing to go above and beyond, even after hours.”
Many growers abide by brand loyalty and Carlie believes there is enough business to go around. “All of these dealers and suppliers work well together,” she explains. “There is a healthy amount of inner competition, but we all tend to take care of our areas. A majority of our customers come from outside our county, so we often have people coming in from out of town. We will drive 30 or 40 miles to help them if that is what they need.”
Planting seeds of growth
The recent recession had little effect on OIS, despite markets across the country dropping steeply between 2008 and 2011. “We’ve had a lot of good years lately,” Carlie explains. “Still, we have seen changes in the past year. Eventually, agriculture may trend down again. We have seen it before, in the ‘80s when farmers were hurting financially while the rest of the country was doing well. We are making smart decisions now that will help us stay stable if that happens.”
OIS also continues to seek out innovative technology to help support growers and keep the business ahead of the curve. “Many people are under the impression that farmers are not highly educated, which is absolutely not the case,” she explains. “Technology is out of control in the agricultural industry and we work with some of the smartest business people in the country: farmers.”
The company also recently upgraded facilities, building an entire new structure over the existing building. The larger space has allowed the team to ramp up inventory and expand services. The new construction has been a wise investment, helping OIS to make room for growth while maintaining a strong brand identity. “People buy from us because of our reputation,” Carlie explains. “They know we will bend over backward to take care of them. We sell our business as a whole, not just products.” In the coming years, Carlie and Todd are staying the course as Osceola Implement and Supply Inc. continues to put customers first.