A German hay and forage equipment company is opening its first western Wisconsin location in Platteville.
Krone America is opening a dealership at 1625 E. Business 151, the former home of Hickory Springs furniture.
Krone manufactures hay harvesters, mowers, balers and rakes in northern Germany and imports them to the U.S.
The dealership will be the first farm implement dealer in Platteville since Scott Implement moved from South Water Street to Mine Road south of Platteville in 1983.
“In our industry we track sales of equipment of all kinds; about everybody reports what they’re doing,” said Tim Riley, Krone’s general manager of store operations. “Southwest Wisconsin is an unbelievably good market for us — they use all the products we make. The opportunity there is just tremendous.”
The Platteville dealership will be Krone’s fifth company-owned dealership. The closest other Krone dealerships are in Edgewood, Iowa, and east of Madison, and those sell other manufacturers’ products as well.
“We looked for quite a while at all those towns around the area,” said Riley. “One of the big factors is we’re alone in Platteville, we’re the only implement dealer, and we like that. This is the epicenter of the market that surrounds us. We’re so close to our customers that we love being part of a small community.”
Krone makes only hay and forage equipment. The company opened in Germany in 1906, and has been in the U.S. since 1973.
“We’re hay and forage only, and pretty much 98 percent of the dealers across America, they have tractors, and they have sprayers,” said Riley. “We don’t do that; our stores are specifically Krone products.
“The cliché would be German engineering. But the company is in the field testing all the time. We communicate with top-line management here and in Germany. We’re very responsive. With our company it’s always been driven by listening to our customers.”
Krone advertising includes a May 1 opening date, but Riley said that date is “probably a little aggressive; it’ll probably be mid-May. Certainly we will have personnel there May 1.”
The dealership will have eight to 10 employees initially, “ultimately 15, maybe more depending on the market,” said Riley.