Waitt Equipment Sales Inc.
In Cicero, Indiana, one equipment company has built a tradition of quality, serving growers, elevators and other agricultural entities for approximately half a century. Now known as Waitt Equipment Sales Inc., the business was founded in the 1960s by Warren Waitt, who started out selling feeder pigs and grain bins to local farmers.
In the 1970s, Waitt added Roger Drayer, a recent Purdue graduate, to the company’s ownership. When Waitt retired in the 1980s, David Engel entered the business. For more than 20 years, Drayer and Engel worked side by side, expanding the company’s offerings under the former Waitt Companies’ name. Over the course of two decades, the business grew significantly, incorporating the sales and service of grain handling equipment and fertilizer application equipment, which included sprayers, spreaders and injection bars.
Bill Wright, co-owner and CEO of Waitt Equipment, purchased the business in 2008 and renamed it to better reflect its current business model. Greg Humburg, who had served in a management capacity with the company for several years, became a co-owner in 2015. Maintaining Waitt Equipment’s legacy as a premier partner for agriculture customers, the pair has driven continued external and internal growth for the business.
Waitt Equipment covers significant territory in the central United States. The company’s footprint includes farmers, seed processors and commercial grain facilities in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee, occasionally extending service as far away as California and Arizona.
Central Indiana sees the highest concentration of the company’s business. Customers there and elsewhere range in size from small, local farmers to large commercial elevators. “We do our best to give the same importance to all of our customers, whether they spend $500 or $5,000,000 a year with us,” notes Humburg.
“Our niche in the industry is working with customers to identify their needs and answer those by creating a versatile grain system that will meet their needs now and integrate into future expansion,” says Humburg. “We focus on customer service, quality and durability.”
"Our product lines include Brock, Sudenga, Chief, Brandt, New Leader, Kongskilde, Stoltzfus, Delux and many more. We also have a line of used equipment for sale on our lot; these are typically trade-in items," Wright adds.
On the grain division side of the business, equipment sales typically include construction, although Wright notes that a small portion of customers elect to install the equipment themselves. “Most of the time, we are installing products the customer has bought from us,” he explains. “So by that statement, the retail sales and construction are equally important.”
Ensuring stability in the agriculture market
Wright explains that in order to provide customers with a broad array of products, Waitt Equipment Sales has two divisions. “The divisions are what we call the grain and fertilizer divisions,” he explains. “The grain division is comprised of selling, repairing and constructing grain-handling equipment. The equipment is specific to grain storage, handling and drying for farms and commercial facilities. The fertilizer division is the sales and service of application equipment to farmers and commercial sites for application of fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides. Such equipment consists of sprayers, spreaders and conveying equipment.”
“Historically our company’s business has been split 50/50 between the grain and fertilizer,” he adds. “With the recent downturn in the ag economy, the fertilizer division has pulled back due to slower equipment sales, while at the same time the grain division has surged forward due to the commodity spread, supporting the storage of grain.”
This balance between two divisions has proved a significant benefit to the business. As volumes fluctuate between these markets, Waitt Equipment is able to maintain a stalwart focus on providing quality equipment and a high level customer service regardless of end user.
Setting the stage for sustainable growth
With the rate of global population growth still at a steady incline, the agriculture industry shows no signs of slowing down. This keeps demand for food, farmers, land and equipment high. “The ag industry will continue to grow through technology in order to meet global demands,” Humburg explains. “The amount of tillable land will continue to decrease as the population continues to increase; therefore the ag industry must find ways to produce more grain and livestock to meet growing needs. That increase in yields means we have more and more bushels of grain to store and handle.”
While technology will continue to change to permit further efficiencies in the industry, Waitt Equipment is ahead of the curve when it comes to innovation. The business stands on a strong foundation and maintains the relationships and market resources to sustain its inventory. “We have a long history of knowledge to meet our customers’ needs through the future,” Humburg adds. “We continue to work at putting the right people in the right places to sustain stable growth in our industry. We are excited to continue the growth we’ve had, including large commercial projects along with taking care of farmers of all shapes and sizes.”
Continued growth is crucial in the agricultural market. “The moment you stop growing as a business is the moment you start dying,” says Wright. “We want to keep propelling onward and upward in our industry.” And to sustain that growth, the Waitt Equipment team elects to keep relationships at the forefront.
With team members, suppliers and customers, communication and honesty are paramount. In every interaction, the company strives to build trust and dependability. These qualities and values give customers reason to call on Waitt Equipment Sales Inc. time and again when it comes to sourcing agricultural equipment.