Todd Kunau, Kunau Implement, Dewitt and Preston, Iowa

“The past several years, I’ve been planning the modernization of the Dewitt store,” says President/CEO Todd Kunau, a 2-store Case IH and New Holland dealer in Iowa. “In 1994 when we built the Dewitt, Iowa, store, we had 6 people there. Now, there are more than 30 working out of there.” After the expansion of the Preston, Iowa, facility in 2014, Kunau was convinced of all the positive things that such an investment brought to equation. He has pulled the trigger on Dewitt and has bids out to contractors this week. “It’s brought a lot of focus. It gives everyone a focus beyond this situation. The team is excited about it and I am, too.”

The new facility will be 100 x 180, larger than the Preston facility and featuring an additional work bay. The investment will include a crane, new lunchroom, training rooms, service room, men’s and women’s locker rooms, and new offices for sales, parts, service and service writer and remodel of the showroom. The parts department will be moved into one-fourth of the old shop area, and a new shipping and receiving wing.

The timing of the expansion will also likely work in the company’s favor as well. Kunau had known that the government and school buildings were the source of most of the construction projects in the area, so he wanted to get ahead of their summer work in schools. “We wanted to be first in trough for contractors,” he says.

Curbside Parts Pickup Going Well. “We’ve got everyone working but both stores closed to the floor traffic with the current situation. We’re dropping parts outside or dropboxes, something that the dealership was accustomed to doing regularly anyhow, he says. The dealership recently invested in Zip Whip to text back and forth to primary phone numbers. “Everyone can send parts breakdowns or PDFs, take pictures of what they’re working on and send it to each other. I learned that not everyone is chained to email like I am, so it’s an internal text communication conduit that’s instantaneous, and important in these times. It allows us to be up to minute updating to whole team.”

Business Was Strong Ahead of COVID-19. “We got the year-end in 2019 that we’d expected for 2018 that never came. We had an extremely strong December and the phones kept ringing after the first of the year. Parts sales are up and holding margin, the shops are full, and we’ve got a good team.” Kunau says that the dealership has brought several new techs on board, including those from an aggressive internship to work program. “Getting the young blood up to speed affected productivity a bit, but we’re rolling.” Wholegoods were selling well, both with tractor activity and new implements, he says, along with several big multiple-unit purchases at year-end.