The Toro Co., Bloomington, Minn., last week completed the acquisition of the light construction and hardscape product assets of Stone Construction Equipment, Honeoye, N.Y. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
In early March, M&T Bank foreclosed on Stone, seized assets and abruptly shut down operations. Toro hopes to restart production at Stone within 10 days and to start building equipment to fill backorders as soon as possible.
“As soon as the deal was signed, we looked at how quickly we could get the company back up and running,” says Rick Rodier, general manager for Toro Sitework Systems Business. “Stone had done a great job of moving its operations to a build-to-order system. They can react quickly to demand. Now it’s just a question of how quickly we can get parts flowing and production out the door.”
Toro initially is working to bring many of Stone’s employees back to work to help produce products at the Honeoye facility at least for the summer and into the fall. Stone was founded in 1967 and manufactures about 400 different products.
“We are contacting vendors to get parts in the plant and we are contacting customers to deal with backorders. That’s a priority. We will provide what we can. Stone always has taken care of its customers and those customers are very loyal. Now we can give them an answer about what is going on,” Rodier says.
“Stone built a solid reputation around quality. These products are respected by rental and construction customers, and complement our current line of compact utility equipment and trenchers extremely well. We see great opportunity to leverage our core strengths in innovation, engineering and distribution to grow share in these new categories,” Rodier says.
Rodier says the acquisition of Stone’s product assets is another step in the company’s comprehensive strategy launched about three years ago to expand its presence in the rental market, which has included the acquisition of other companies such as US Praxis and Lawncare Solutions.
“For Sitework, the rental industry is an important customer for us. A good percentage of our wheeled and tracked compact loaders and trenchers are sold into the rental market. Three years ago, we also were understanding of our customer needs and looked at where the market was going to go. We saw rental as a market that would come out of the recession healthier and fast. We wanted to be in a position to react to that with our brand,” Rodier says.
“Part of our vision is to bring our brand deeper into rental with a class, category and portfolio of products that fit in our Sitework business,” he says. “Research has shown us that contractors who traditionally handle one or two types of contracting now have four or five types to extend their reach. If the small contractor or do-it-yourself customer comes into a rental store, they want a good, easy-to-use product, especially if they don’t run a stump grinder or a compact loader that often. They might have a Toro lawnmower, go to a rental store, see our other products and be comfortable about using them.”