Victoria is home again to a full-service John Deere dealership. Shoppa's Farm Supply, at 9806 U.S. Highway 59 N., is the only licensed John Deere agricultural machine dealer in town.
WHY IS THIS SIGNIFICANT? John Deere cut its 21-year association with Victoria Farm Equipment in July. John Deere did so, spokespeople said, because the local company failed to achieve high market share and lastly, to sell to a larger operation. In August, Shoppa's Farm Supply, an El Campo-based John Deere dealership, announced it would open in Victoria. It opened in recent days.
WHO ARE THE SHOPPAS? Shoppa's Farm Supply is a family-owned business. Lloyd Shoppa, 76, was raised on a Wharton farm. After retiring as president of a helicopter company, he founded Shoppa's Farm Supply in 1982. Chris Shoppa, his 49-year-old son, joined the family business after leaving the banking industry. The Shoppas also own Shoppa's Material Handling, a full-service material handling dealership with nine locations in North Texas and Kansas.
WHY OPEN A DEALERSHIP HERE? "It's a large community, the largest between here and Houston," Chris Shoppa said. "We think this will be an anchor store - and one day our largest consumer products store. The whole idea of this is to get in the market as quickly as possible." The Shoppas purchased 22 acres off U.S. Highway 59 North. Until they better measure the market and the economy steadies, the family operates the business from a large, temporary building on five acres. The family is finalizing details of a future, permanent building. Ground could break within 18 months.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT? The Victoria Shoppa's Farm Supply - the company's sixth Texas Gulf Coast location - offers new and used tractors, combines, cotton pickers, hay balers, mower conditioners, windrowers, tillage, shredders, planters, sprayers, skid steers, Gators, lawnmowers and more. The location is a full-service dealership despite temporarily lacking mechanics bays. Mechanics will travel to repair-needy equipment or move machinery to its Edna shop.
WHAT ABOUT ECONOMIC EFFECTS? While the family-owned business employees 300 people, the temporary Victoria location has five workers. When and if the company expands, that number could jump to 20, the family said. The Shoppas declined to disclose salary ranges.
RANDOM FACTS The company is the official tractor supplier of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and will be until 2012. It provides 130 pieces of machinery to the show. The company is also linked to a sophisticated online system that helps it track parts in its six-location inventory. "This helps get customers the parts they need faster," Chris Shoppa said.
TIP FOR OTHER SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS "The challenge is to stay persistent and optimistic, and to change with customer needs," Chris Shoppa said. His father added: "It takes good people and good products. You have to challenge the organization to meet and exceed customer expectations."
CONTACT To learn more, call 361-578-7072 or visit www.Shoppas.com.