By Sarah Binder
CEDAR RAPIDS—After seeing growing demand in southeast Iowa, Altorfer, Inc. is planning a full-service agriculture facility in West Branch. Construction is expected to begin this spring, with an expected completion by early 2014.
Cedar Rapids-based Altorfer is an equipment dealer for the construction and agriculture industries. The West Branch location will be Altorfer’s first full-service agriculture facility in Iowa, meaning it will offer service, parts and sales.
The existing agriculture parts store in Cedar Rapids will likely be moved into the West Branch facility, said Pat Puntoni, Altorfer’s vice president of agriculture.
“This will enhance our service capabilities,” Mr. Puntoni said.
Within the past decade, advances in technology have brought new innovations to farm equipment, such as automatic GPS steering.
“The biggest thing that’s affected agriculture and impacted a lot of our growth is the technology side of it,” Mr. Puntoni said. As the equipment they sell has grown more advanced, Altorfer has added customer service staff to help their clients use it. The company formed a technology department within the agriculture division about five years ago and it has grown rapidly, Mr. Puntoni said.
Altorfer has historically been known as a Caterpillar dealer. Altorfer’s ag products division is also an authorized dealer for AGCO’s Challenger, RoGator, TerraGator, SpraCoupe and Willmar brands, and CLAAS LEXION combines.
The 55-year-old, family-owned company operates locations in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri, with Altorfer Ag Products based in Clinton, Ill.
“I think being a family-owned company, we’re a lot closer to understanding the customer’s needs,” Mr. Puntoni said.
West Branch was chosen for its central location among the 26 Iowa counties Altorfer’s agriculture division serves. The facility will be located in the West Branch Industrial Park, within a half-mile of Interstate 80.
The design of the facility has not been completed, but Mr. Puntoni estimated that it will be about 35,000 square feet. Staff will include transfers from other locations, such as the Cedar Rapids store, and a few new employees.
The company has been planning to expand its agriculture services in Iowa for some time, Mr. Puntoni said. Overall stability in the farm economy, including strength in the past several years, have contributed to growth in agriculture for the company.