Murphy builds power equipment business on customer service

Posted 5/27/99

Grand Opening of new facilities June 4 & 5—

Next weekend’s Grand Opening of the n…

By Kalona News

Grand Opening of new facilities June 4 & 5—

Next weekend’s Grand …

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Murphy builds power equipment business on customer service


Grand Opening of new facilities June 4 & 5—

Next weekend’s Grand Opening of the n…

By Kalona News

Grand Opening of new facilities June 4 & 5—

Next weekend’s Grand Opening of the new facilities for Murphy Power Equipment, Inc., rural Hills, is a testament to success resulting from good customer service while providing a needed community service. And, it is an example of what can be done when a city works with its businesses to help them prosper.

A grand opening of the new building, one and a half miles north of Hills on the Chad Murphy farm, 4942 Oak Cres Hill Road (old Highway 218) is Friday and Saturday, June 4 and 5. Friday’s activities include a free lunch of sausage brats and Boyd’s bologna, served from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Factory sales representatives from most equipment suppliers will be on hand both days to answer customer questions. There will be open house specials both days as well as an opportunity to sign up for various door prizes. Top door prize is a CubCadet push lawnmower.

There will be displays for Daewoo skid loaders, CubCadet power equipment, Husqvarna chainsaws and power equipment, Encore commercial mowers, White outdoor power equipment, and Kawasaki generators.

The 7,000 square foot building allows Murphy to have a large display floor, expanded parts department and a huge service area. Offices and more storage area are on the second floor.

The Hills native started Murphy’s Lawn & Garden Equipment in September, 1993 because he was, he said, fed up with the stress of high pressure sales while working for a car dealer.

A graduate of West High School, Iowa City and Kirkwood Community College, where he studied diesel mechanics, Murphy worked at Nagle Lumber, Toyota of Iowa City and an Iowa City farm equipment dealer before he decided to launch his own business.

“I found selling cars too stressful,” Murphy said.

“I thought people ought to be treated like you would want to be treated yourself,” he said, noting that is how he operates his thriving business.

Murphy said when he decided to start his own business in 1991 he thought power and lawn equipment would be a good opportunity. He then decided to secure dealerships for the primary quality brands and got the training to provide quality service.

“Taking care of your customers is the name of the game,” he stressed. With that business philosophy, Murphy soon outgrew his facilities in downtown Hills. He changed the firm’s name to Murphy’s Power Equipment, Inc. in 1995 when the firm was incorporated.

“We have been trying to find a place to expand in Hills for several years,” Murphy said. “There was none to be found. We owe the Hills City Council a big thanks for having the foresight to annex this portion of my farm so we could build a commercial structure.”

“Serving our customers’ needs is the main reason we built this larger facility,” Murphy said. “Without customers, you don’t have a business. That’s why we do our best to take care of them.”

“We also service everything we sell,” he added.

Murphy believes his location, just off Hwy. 218 (Avenue of the Saints), will help his business. “We already have people who see our building from the four-lane stop to see what kind of business we have.” He also noted that the location is closer to his main customer base in Iowa City.

Family business

The number of employees in the family owned corporation has also grown with the new location. Chad is the owner and main salesman. His wife, Renae, takes care of the parts department. Murphy’s sister Tracy Gringer is the bookkeeper, and his father George Murphy takes care of equipment setup, pickup and delivery. Al Riggan, who is “almost like family” is chief mechanic.

Murphy notes that the larger facility has allowed him to have a larger selection of power equipment.

“We have been especially lucky to get a shipment of 15 Kawasaki generators,” he said. The generators have become more popular since last year’s storms and for people getting ready for the year 2000.

The new Wick building was constructed by Statler Construction, Kalona.