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Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Agriculture Business of the Year: Empire Tractor

post by Howard Owens in batavia, business, Chamber Awards, Empire Tractor

This is one of a series of articles highlighting the winners of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce awards for 2012. The awards gala is Saturday evening at the Clarion Hotel.

In Tim Call's mind, there's little separation between the success of Empire Tractor and the hard work and dedication of the company's employees.

Whether it's sales or customer service, the conversation with Call either starts or ends with praise for Empire's 112 employees at six Central and Western New York locations.

"We have some of the most friendly and knowledgeable people in the industry," Call said.

Eighteen years ago, Call acquired a company on East Main Street Road, Batavia, then known at Tri-State Tractor. Through growth and partnerships, Tri-State became Empire and is one of the most successful farm equipment companies in the region.

Customers of Empire range from people with just an acre of land to farmers with 10,000 acres of land, Call said. The company doesn't handle push mowers or weed eaters, but the guy with just an acre of lawn to mow can get a nice zero-turn rider while the largest grain farmer in the area can buy the biggest tractor you can imagine.

In May, 2011, Empire moved to a bigger facility on East Main Road that gave Empire more room and paved surfaces that makes the whole business look more attractive.

"Everything is clean and everything just displays so well," Call said. "It's given us a whole different image and it's helped us increase our sales."

The entire service operation is now under one roof, Call said, which helps improve efficiency.

Even with the better facility, it's the people at Empire who make the sales process work, Call said.

"We want a sales process that is easy and fun and not too hard," Call said. "People buy from people and we try to remember that. When a farmer comes in, however much money he's spending, that's a lot of money to him to spend and we want him to feel happy and comfortable and satisfied that he got a reasonable deal."

Some employees have been with the company for more than 30 years, and that's saying something, Call said, especially for those who deal with farmers who had a piece of equipment break down.

When a farmer has to come into the shop because of a broken tractor or broken combine, it means he or she is not out in the field plowing or harvesting or herding. It means work that must get done isn't getting done.

"It's the employees who take care of customers every day," Call said. "A farmer comes in because he's broke down and he's not happy. There's a lot of thankless chores and when you're dealing with a guy who's beating on you and you're trying to be happy and upbeat, well, our guys are pretty darn good at that."

Good employees and a pleasant experience are so key to success in the competitive farm equipment business, Call said.

"Most of our business is referral, and if a customer has a bad experience, he's not going to come back and he's going to tell his friends," Call said. "We've done everything we can to try and make it easy for people to do business with us."

Friday, December 14, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Photo: Christmastime customer appreciation lunch at Empire Tractor

post by Howard Owens in batavia, business, Empire Tractor

Empire Tractor hosted a Christmastime customer appreciation day at its location on East Main Street Road today, serving chips, sodas and beef on weck.

The Batavia-based farm equipment company was recently named one of the top dealers in the nation by Dixie Chopper for its exceptional sales and service of the riding mower line.

Friday, March 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Photos: Empire Tractor's grand opening open house

post by Howard Owens in batavia, agriculture, business, Empire Tractor

Last October, Empire Tractor moved to a new location at 5072 E. Main St. Road and has taken the past few months to get settled into the new, larger facility.  Today and tomorrow, Empire Tractor is holding a grand opening and open house.

Among the items on display is a newly released Oxbo Model 4334 self-propelled merger. The merger -- pictured below -- is made by Oxbo in Byron and is the only piece of equipment in its class in the world. Several aspects of the technology behind it are patented. The merger can gather hay on 250 to 400 acres in a day. It moves across a field at 8 to 12 mph.

Standing in front of the 4334, above, are Tim Call, president of Empire Tractor, Ken Krokowski, of Oxbo, Steve Werner, Dan Athoe, John Bannister and Bill Friese.

The open house continues tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Monday, October 3, 2011 at 9:09 am

Empire Tractor moving into new location

post by Rick D. Franclemont in business, Empire Tractor, location

Saturday, Empire Tractor Company President Tim Call and his crew were seen moving office equipment and parts into the former Mike Ognibene Ford Dealership location. According to Tim, Empire's new shop is only a mile and a half down the road from the former location but will be a better mix for them. The move was going well and they will be in operation Monday.

Friday, May 20, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Empire Tractor finds room to grow on former car dealership lot

post by Howard Owens in batavia, business, Empire Tractor

After 17 years of selling and servicing farm equipment at 5563 E. Main St. Road, Batavia, Empire Tractor (former Tri-County Tractor at that location) is moving into a much bigger space about a mile down the road.

The move will allow the company to expand its main building from 8,400 sq. ft. to 22,000 sq. ft., according to company president Tim Call.

"The thing is, farm equipment is getting much bigger," said Call, one of six owners of Empire Tractor, which has locations throughout Western New York. "We couldn't even get some of it into our shop."

The new shop will allow for more repairs to be handled simultaneously and for the bigger equipment to be worked on no matter what the weather.

In anticipation of the move, Empire Tractor has hired three more employees and will hire two or three more after the move is completed.

The new location, formerly a Ford dealership owned by Mike Ognibene, is 5.5 acres and includes two additional buildings (matching in size and function to the buildings at Empire Tractor's current location).

The contiguous space will allow Empire Tractor to consolidate its display and parking space on a single lot. At the current location, for example, some new equipment for sale must be parked across a very busy Route 5.

"This is a lot nicer," Call said. "It's all one side of the road, all blacktop, cleaner, neater. This is a lot nicer."

The location is a bit of a homecoming for Call. One of the buildings on the lot is where his father opened Batavia Farm Equipment in 1960.

Call acquired Tri-County Tractor 17 years ago and eventually merged his company with other farm equipment outlets to form Empire Tractor.  

He is anticipating a big year for Empire Tractor. With corn going from $3 a bushel to $7 and milk from $12 to $19, Call said he anticipates the market for farm equipment will increase. He said the company anticipates a 20 to 25 percent increase in sales.

Monday, February 2, 2009 at 1:37 pm

Empire Tractor

post by Vinnie Antinore in business, Empire Tractor

NEWS  Syracuse Kubota now part of Empire Tractor      www.syracusekubota.net/home.asp

 Empire Tractor is excited to announce today that Syracuse Kubota is part of Empire Tractor. Empire Tractor will continue to sell and service Kubota and other selected equipment from the current Syracuse Kubota location on Erie Boulevard.

Syracuse Kubota was started by Rick and Marybeth Petrell when they purchased Beach Equipment in April of 2004. With the addition of Kubota and Jon Enright as manager, the business expanded tremendously.

Empire Tractor sees the Syracuse location as a strategic fit both geographically and economically.

"We are excited to have Syracuse Kubota join our company" said Tim Call, President of Empire Tractor. "The Petrells have done an exceptional job of growing Kubota sales in the Syracuse region. They have established an experienced staff that offers exceptional customer service much like that of Empire Tractor."

Empire Tractor, established in 2000, operates 5 dealerships in Atlanta, Batavia, Cortland, Cazenovia, and Waterloo New York.  Now Syracuse Kubota is part of the family.

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