Athens Review, Athens, Texas

April 5, 2013

Ag-Power request approved

AEDC board offers incentive package

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — The Athens Economic Development Corporation Board approved a request from Ag-Power for financial support for its expansion project that the company anticipates will reap benefits in sales and service.

Ag-Power is moving from Rocky Ridge Road to a 6-acre property on Loop 7.  The John Deere dealership’s new $3 million home is being constructed on the northeast corner of the Loop 7, Farm-to-Market Road 1616 intersection.

The AEDC voted to offer Ag-Power an incentive package of $72,000 for capital improvements and $34,500 for job creation.  The Board decision is subject to approval of the Athens City Council.

“Ag-Power is making a big commitment to the area with the new facility,” AEDC President and CEO Brian Malone said. “They’re investing in the market with new products and potentially new people.”

Brandon Daniel, a sales manager with the company said the company has been in Athens since 2009, but was limited in its current location.

“We realized the facilities we acquired in the process weren’t the best. They were pretty dated, going back to the 70s,” Daniel said.

Ag-Power officials believe the Athens market has a lot of potential, Daniel said, for agriculture products, but also consumer and turf products such as lawn mowers and hand-held equipment. The new location with its up-to-date equipment will make it easier for the company to hire talented service technicians and sales personnel, Daniel said.

“When you look at it, Athens is in a good location, but a lot of the business that can be drawn into Athens will come from places like Palestine, which has a large Ag demographic, Kerens and Corsicana,” Daniel said.

Daniel said the company hopes to open the new facility before the end of 2013, likely during a September-to-November window. The new shop will be much larger than the one on Rocky Ridge Road, Daniel said, allowing the dealership to work on larger equipment. That will potentially bring customers from places like the cotton-farming area near Kerens.

Another area where Ag-Power hopes to increase business is in mining and land-reclamation equipment. Daniel said during the company’s due diligence, they learned that customers in the Fairfield area, where that industry is prevalent, are more likely to come to Athens to shop for equipment, if a suitable facility existed in the city.

“It will be nice to open that door of opportunity to the south and southeast of us, and bring that consumer up here for taxable sales, and for service that will be tied to those products,” Daniel said.

The Athens Ag-Power Dealership boasts annual sales of about $7 million. With the new location, Daniel foresees that income increasing to about $12 million. The increased business can lead to an increase of up to 12 employees, with the largest bump coming in the service department.

According to the Ag-Power website, the new facility covers 15,000 square feet of showroom space, and 28,000 square feet for the service department. The second floor of the facility has conference rooms and training rooms for employees and customers.