Witmer’s sells ag division to Ohio Ag

Ohio Ag Equipment has acquired Columbiana County AGCO dealer Witmer’s Inc. effective June 19. From left, Doris Witmer, Ralph Witmer, Ken Taylor, owner of Ohio CAT, Nelson Witmer and Grace Styer. (Submitted photo)

SALEM–After 80 years of providing equipment and service to the region’s agricultural market, Witmer’s Inc. announces it has sold the agriculture side of its business to focus on construction.

In June, Witmer’s will close a deal with Ohio Ag Equipment, a division of Ohio CAT, for the Broadview Heights-based company to acquire the assets of Witmer’s Agricultural Equipment Division. Ohio Ag Equipment will lease space and continue to operate from the current location at 39821 state Route 14, Salem. Witmer’s Construction will also continue to operate from defined space at the current location.

The deal is a strategic decision that allows Witmer’s to focus on its strengths in construction without leaving a void in the local agriculture equipment market, says its president, Nelson Witmer. Ohio Ag Equipment will take over operations and serve a customer base of five counties in northeast Ohio and three in western Pennsylvania.

Witmer assures customers that Ohio Ag Equipment is working to create a seamless transition and that “this is the best way to ensure that our customers for the last 80 years still get the same service that they’re used to,” he says.

“We are pleased to be working with a company like Ohio Ag Equipment as we transition out of the agricultural equipment business. Their obvious commitment to customer service and strong management team will serve our generations of customers and employees well,” Witmer says. “As we continue our 80-year history by focusing on our growing construction company, we are gratified that the farm equipment legacy our family developed over three generations will not only be honored, but strengthened.”

With deeper access to technology and parts, Ohio Ag Equipment will enhance the equipment services available to local customers, he adds. Ohio Ag Equipment will continue to offer a full line of AGCO equipment and will maintain the employees that customers have grown accustomed to.

“In our early discussions, it was clear the Witmer family had two concerns. They wanted to be sure their customers and employees would be supported through this process and in the future,” says Ohio Ag Equipment’s general manager, Mike Mampieri. “We at Ohio Ag Equipment can appreciate these concerns and will work to build on the Witmer’s legacy by providing outstanding customer support and by welcoming our new team of employees into the extended Ohio CAT family.”

The construction focus gives Witmer’s a new opportunity for controlled growth within a specific targeted area, Witmer says. The company is focusing on a 75-mile radius from Columbiana, Ohio, to start.

Witmer’s is currently investing in new processes and techniques to deliver pre-engineered steel and wood frame buildings to the commercial, agricultural and industrial markets – services it has offered for 40 years. In addition to its practiced design/build services, turnkey construction and metal re-roofing, the company is adding energy analysis services to its repertoire.

This service allows Witmer’s to analyze new and existing buildings for energy usage, thereby calculating the cost of ownership for those structures. That information creates a basis from which Witmer’s can provide maintenance services for those customers to help reduce and maintain low energy usage, saving the customer money.

“It’s about going beyond the warranty; we want to build a relationship with the customer, not just complete a contract,” Witmer says. “We realize that we won’t be all things to all people, but we believe we can build our business on our strengths. Our goal is to become the preferred provider of these services in our market.”

Witmer’s staff has a combined 100-plus years of relevant work experience, and employees are receiving additional training for the future, including building modeling, energy modeling and new construction techniques to optimize building efficiencies. The company will invest in additional staff and equipment as needed, but Witmer says they are ready to start work on this new venture.

“We are excited for the future and eager to get things moving in a new direction,” Witmer says. “We’ve been here for 80 years and we are here to stay.”