2014 saw O’Connor’s Tractors of Knockna-goshel reach the magical milestone of 50 years in business. Managing Director Shane O’Connor let us in on his wishes for the future as he blows out the candles on the birthday cake.
O’Connor’s Tractors is a well-known family business established in 1964 by Dennis O’Connor, importing and exporting quality used tractors and machinery.
Based in Knockbrack, Knocknagoshel, Co Kerry, on the Limerick and Kerry border, they specialise in the exportation of tractors, and are one of Ireland’s leading stockists of quality used tractors with over 55 tractors in stock all year round.
Company founder Dennis sadly passed away five years ago in 2009 but the family firm continues to prosper under the management of his wife Maureen (director) and son Shane who has been managing director since 2002.
“Dennis started in business in 1964, repairing cars and tractors for the local community,” Shane explained. “He served his apprenticeship in O’Leary’s Garage, Abbeyfeale and Barrett’s of Listowel.
“He then started importing second-hand tractors in the seventies and built up the business from there.”
A company that puts product reliability and customer service first, O’Connor’s took on the Valtra Tractors dealership for Kerry, Limerick and Clare back in 1999.
They source most of their tractors from the UK and also stock Newholland, John Deere, Massey Ferguson, Case and other makes ranging from 80HP to 220HP.
As a company they supply mostly Redrock, Amazone and Krone farm machinery and plant and, in addition, they stock a large range of parts and accessories.
Asked how the current economic climate is treating them, Shane – who joined the family business after leaving school 20 years ago – replied: “We’re busy enough, importing a lot of machinery and second hand tractors from the UK.
“The export end of things is going well. Our tractors can be found as far away as Tasmania! There has also been signs that new tractor sales are picking up.”
Keeping the ship afloat during these trying times hasn’t been easy, Shane readily admits, but a prudent approach to controlling their costs has stood O’Connor’s Tractors in good-stead.
“It’s tough going but we’re hanging in there. We’ve been around a long time, survived the last recession and we’ll survive this one. Business dipped a little, like it did for everyone else, but you just have to keep things tight, keep overheads at a minimum.”
Over the past 50 years, O’Connor’s have developed a worthy reputation for their reliability, service and cost; making them an ideal place to purchase used tractors and machinery.
They boast a large amount of repeat business which is the envy of many of their competitors. This is not something that Shane takes for granted and he is very appreciative of the loyal support they have received from their customers.
“We’re lucky to have good, loyal customers to be fair. We took on the Valtra franchise in 1999 and it has proven to be a good, solid brand. We’ve enjoyed a lot of repeat business as a result of that and we have sold them all over the country.
“The secrets of success is the quality of our products and the service we offer. A lot of it is down to finance. Banks not exactly tripping over themselves to give out finance, it can be hard enough to get. Probably should be a little bit more plentiful.”
Providing gainful, profitable employment to a workforce of six, O’Connor’s premises include stores, a service area and a forecourt.
Looking into his crystal ball Shane adopts an optimistic outlook: “It’s not all doom and gloom, there are a lot of reasons to be positive.”
When your business is offering a cost effective alternative to new tractors and machinery then you have every right to be confident about what the future holds in store.
After 50 years, they are not going to change the habit of a lifetime now! Give Shane and O’Connor’s Tractors a shout to see how they can help you save money.
Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 2 No 2, June/July 2014