The Business News is another newspaper that I have the pleasure of writing for most months. After a brief hiatus to finish my military coursework, through the Command and General Staff College, I’m back to writing. To read the most recent article published, please click on the link below.
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Swiderski Equipment Inc. was founded in 1925, on the Swiderski family homestead in Mosinee, to support the local farming community and that is exactly what they continue to do today. Owned by Alex and Dianne Swiderski, the company is preserved in the Swiderski family more than 90 years later. By evolving with the agriculture industry, they have captured, “more than 50% of the market share in the areas that we are responsible for,” explained Sly Krautkramer, Chief Operating Officer. But that wasn’t always the case. As recent as 2010, they struggled to define what the next level would look like for their business. Finally, all the pieces fell into place and they have been growing ever since. “We’ve had a pretty good surge here, which started in 2010, and took the business to a new level,” said Krautkramer discussing their secrets for growth. “We got into high horsepower stuff, precision farming technology, and took our offerings to a higher level with bigger farms demanding bigger equipment.”
That is where Swiderski Equipment’s evolution paid dividends. When they were founded in 1925, there were 193,155 farms in Wisconsin and only 116 farms were over 1,000 acres according to the 1925 Census of Agriculture. Naturally, their business supported these family farms, first by training and selling work horses and later by selling New Holland and Minneapolis Moline tractors and implements by the late 1930s. That evolution continued throughout the subsequent decades. Fast forward to recent years and there are now less than 70,000 farms in Wisconsin and almost 2,500 of those farms encompass 1,000 acres or more. Now, all five of their locations – Mosinee, Wausau, Thorp, Antigo, and Waupaca – offer product lines to support the larger farm operations in an 18-county area that spans from the Chippewa Falls/Eau Claire area to Outagamie County and throughout central and northern Wisconsin.
Even though they now can easily serve those large farms, “we have equipment to support hobby farmers with only two acres up to those with more than 2,000 acres,” noted Krautkramer. Agriculture may be the core of their business, but Swiderski Equipment is involved in many other areas as well. “Construction equipment, governmental contracts, weekend adventurers, landscaping, and snow removal are just a few of our markets,” described Krautkramer with the help of Melissa Heise, Director of Marketing and Human Resources. “There’s also another side of agriculture we support, in addition to traditional dairy and crop farming, including cranberries, potatoes, grain, and beef operations. We’re using technology to help those growers and producers be profitable in their own businesses.”
Evolution of their product line is clearly one key factor to their dominating growth in the region, but certainly not the only key to success. “We have high level, quality people with little turnover,” said Krautkramer with pride. “Not only that, but we hire talented people and empower them. Each person has a different personality and a different flavoring which we capitalize on to get strong results.” According to Krautkramer, that wasn’t always the case either. “We went from having a hard time finding employees to having people knocking on our door because everyone wants to work for a winning team.”
With success due to their never ending evolution and a strong team in place, Swiderski Equipment is looking to continue their success. “We always have to grow and have growth plans in place, but the real key is to capitalize on new opportunities,” explained Krautkramer. One key aspect of that continued growth is what Heise calls their “sixth location.” Right now, they are investing in advancing their online presence or that “sixth location” and will be launching a brand-new website sometime early in 2017. With that, they hope to reach out to both current and prospective customers to discuss technology and innovations so they can stay on the cutting edge and provide their customers with exactly what they require to be successful.
Even with all that, Krautkramer says there is one last key to their continued growth and success. “We support our communities through different programs and community events, whether it is 4-H, the FFA, or June Dairy Breakfasts, we’re engaged and active members of our community to show them we truly care.”