Gary Reynolds, owner of 2018 Dealership of the Year recipient Reynolds Farm Equipment (click here to read full article), represents the second generation of family ownership. In his tenure, Reynolds has clearly cemented his legacy within the walls of his stores — and its employees.
His customers, some of who have been taking their business to Reynolds for several decades, speak highly of him as a person and a businessman.
“He makes you feel more than just a customer; you definitely feel valued in the relationship,” says Dan Freer, a farmer whose family has been doing business with Reynolds since roughly 1970.
It doesn’t take long to get a sense of what they are talking about.
Minutes before the executive team sat down to discuss their business successes with Farm Equipment, Reynolds first had to tell the “baseball story.”
Just its mention was met with laughs and groans.
Not long after moving into the new Reynolds headquarters in Atlanta, Reynolds bet that Jon Schwander, Reynolds Farm Equipment CFO, could not throw a baseball from one side of a lengthy second-floor office hallway and hit the wall at the other end. The catch: Schwander wasn’t allowed to hit the ceiling or floor first, so the throw essentially had to be a straight shot.
With delight, Reynolds pointed to a baseball-sized dent in the otherwise unscathed wall. He then pointed to the tiniest mark on a ceiling panel where the ball just skimmed as it made its way from one end of the hall to the other.
It’s not just Reynolds’ personality that people notice; the way he runs the business also leaves a lasting impression.
“I think a lot of people have taken it to heart because they’re like, ‘Well, I’m going to think like Gary.’ Because that’s exactly what goes on in their mind,” says Angela Hungate, company president, store manager of the flagship Atlanta, Ind., location and Reynolds’ daughter. “Whether they’re out on a service call or they’re waiting for somebody just to cash out over a counter, we have more people that I have seen engaged, thinking like that, than we ever have.”
Hungate adds that Reynolds created a family-like company culture in part by showing his appreciation to all his employees. Noting one of several instances, she says that her father to likes present employees with gift cards following the busy planting and harvest seasons.
“But he did that upon himself,” she says. “He just did it upon himself because he knows that’s our culture.”
Reynolds’ creativity and business savvy impresses many, including Don Van Houweling, owner and CEO of Van Wall Equipment, 2016 Dealership of the Year recipient and a member of the peer group Reynolds belongs to.
“He is a forward thinker and is not afraid to try new ideas,” Van Houweling says. “He knows how the farmer thinks. He is also a very savvy retailer and marketer. He knows how to promote and understands the value of service. He has also done a superb job related to digital marketing.”
Reynolds holds both his faith and his family near and dear to his heart. He notes how thankful he was that he got to take pictures in front of his Atlanta store alongside Hungate for inclusion in Farm Equipment’s Dealership of the Year coverage.
“When I got to stand there by my daughter and put my arm around her I thought, ‘It don’t get any better than this,’” he says. “I didn’t tell her that, but … it didn’t get any better than that. And I’m telling you, that’s big.”