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For today’s “Our Dealer Story,” we take you into not one, but two, award-winning equipment dealerships in Wisconsin. Editor/Publisher Mike Lessiter gathered two competing dealers — one green and one red — to discuss their origins and approaches to operating in the same competitive landscape around Janesville, Wis.

Mid-State Equipment (Past Recipient of Rural Lifestyle Dealer of the Year) — Chris Frodel is a trailblazer as a female executive in a male-dominated business, who has maintained work/life balance as a mother of preschooler and a growing 8-store John Deere equipment business. Further challenging her was the big job of succeeding her father Curt Hanson, a legend in the business. “I have my own shoes, I said,” she recalls of that announcement to the community. “They’re different, and that’s going to have to be OK.” 

Johnson Tractor (Past Recipient of Farm Equipment Dealership of the Year) — Leo Johnson is president of Johnson Tractor, a four-store Case IH dealership that he has led since the 1980s when he and his dad, Ray, a parts/service manager, bought out Ray’s International Harvester dealership. During the conversation, Johnson recalled the day that Chris’ father Kurt Hanson set up his John Deere sign in Janesville. “I knew at that point that it was going to get tougher for us, but I also figured there was going to be more consistency and fewer crazy deals going on.”

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Farm Equpment's podcast series is brought to you by HBS Systems.

HBS Systems, like many of our customers, is a multi-generational company that has for over 30 years provided leading-edge systems and software technology designed specifically for Agricultural and Construction equipment dealerships. From a humble beginning serving a single Agricultural dealership location in 1985, we have grown into the leading provider of Equipment Dealership Management Systems today. We proudly develop all of our solutions in-house and support our growing customer base from our headquarters in Dallas, TX and our Canadian branch in Stratford, Ontario. Learn more at

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Music: Josh Woodward - Golden Sunrise (Instrumental Version)

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