ConEquip Parts was founded in 2008 by Al Alexander and Ben Krentz in Buffalo, NY. With years of sales experience, a desire to serve customers better, and overall good looks, Ben and Al set out to form a business with their own views on how the construction parts industry should operate.
"I was working at a Bobcat dealership when Al approached me about starting a parts business. As an entrepreneur, I was definitely interested," says ConEquip Co-Owner Ben Krentz.
Name and Motto
Together they came up with the name ConEquip Parts and the company motto, "A World of Parts with a Personal Touch". From its inception, the owners of ConEquip have worked very hard on building relationships with both vendors they work with and people who call ConEquip Parts.
"We decided we wanted to focus on the customer above all other things," says Alexander. The first principle for the two-man-team to be successful was to have diligence.
Tools of the Trade
Sales didn't start in an office building with a rusty warehouse full of inventory. Instead, the early years started out with much less - a laptop and an uncomfortable wooden chair.
"I preferred sitting in that chair... it builds character", Alexander says.
Meetings and Planning
"Ben and I worked for almost a year planning the business before we even took the first sales call."
Alexander says they met about twice a week at Panera Bread to move their plans along.
"We spent a lot of money at Panera Bread and gained 20lbs."
After months of planning, strategy, and prayer, Ben and Al officially flipped the switch on Monday July 20, 2009.
The first office for ConEquip Parts was inside this home in Buffalo, NY.
The First Sale
It wasn't long before the first call came in.
"It was very exciting. The first quote was for $2454 for a Debbie Miller. We still talk to her to this day," Alexander said.
Then it happened, ConEquip made their first sale; a bucket cylinder on a Drott 35B for $1275.
The Ice Cream Shop
About one year after the first sale, ConEquip Parts moved to an office above an ice cream store owned by Ben's parents in Lockport, NY.
ConEquip Parts occupied the 2nd floor of Uncle G's Ice Cream in Lockport, NY for more than 4 years.
"We were glad to move into the ice cream store so when people did a Google search they at least didn't see a house, giving us a little more credibility," said Krentz.
Ryan Joins the Team
It wasn't long before they realized knowledge about sales and marketing wasn't enough. They needed help understanding the financial side of the business.
"We heard Ryan Loos hosting a Christian radio show about finances and liked what he had to say. We contacted him and asked if he could help us," said Alexander.
Loos brought expert advice to the table to help ConEquip make the necessary decisions to take the company to the next step.
"Among other things, I told them to hire more people," says Loos.
"I asked him if he had double-ply toilet paper, because I pooped my pants," says Krentz.
Hire More People
Al and Ben took Ryan's advice to hire more people, and it worked.
They brought in Joyce Holt to help with the administrative side of the business and a couple salespeople to help with the growing number of calls.
By the end of 2013, the ConEquip Parts team grew to almost a dozen employees.
From Unpaid Consultant to Partner
Soon after joining ConEquip as a consultant, Ben and Al asked Loos if he was interested in being a partner.
"At first, I declined because they couldn't afford me," says Loos.
"I didn't charge them for the first year and a half because I saw their potential," Loos added.
A few years later, that changed.
"They took my advice, started making money and then I decided it was a good time to join as a partner."
A Temporary Space
Soon, ConEquip outgrew the ice cream store. Although leaving the 30 delicious flavors they were able to get at an amazing discount was tough, the business moved again. A hiccup in the transition landed the sales team briefly in a residential home again. A few weeks later, ConEquip headquarters was set up in small office space.
"It was tight but cozy," said ConEquip employee Steve Krentz.
Our New Home
A short time after occupying a small office the owners came together, prayed about the next step they should take and eventually stumbled up 6100 square foot office space in Newfane, NY.
"The building fit all of our needs at the right price. After meeting with the property owner we decided it was where God wanted us to be," Loos said.