“The biggest opportunity I see right now
is in military spending—it appears to be
pretty big and this not only affects housing
but infrastructure on the bases,” says Klever.
“Luckily, the federal money spent will more
than compensate for the dried-up state coffers.
“Oil and gas is still a big question mark;
I don’t know if they’ll increase the money
they’re spending on investments on the Slope
or not,” he adds.
“The state is definitely still struggling, and
I don’t know when that will change,” agrees
Boehm. “But the economy is starting to pick
up, and oil and gas is starting to pick up,
which may present a good opportunity in the
next year or two.
“On a positive note, the private sector is
taking off; Washington and Oregon are going
crazy, which also affects us. We’re working
hard to try to capture more of the homeowner
market by taking the intimidation out of
visiting a dealership; it doesn’t matter what your
knowledge level is, we treat every customer the
Providing customers with the machines
they want, when they need them, takes a lot
of effort on the part of Alaska equipment
dealerships, and from the sound of it, they’re
up to the challenge. R
Vanessa Orr is a freelance writer and
former editor of the Capital City Weekly
isn’t approved for this type of financing, we
might be able to do something in-house.”
As a full equipment dealership, Bobcat of
Juneau offers customers the option to rent,
lease, or buy, and also helps customers decide
exactly what they need. Now in its eleventh
year, the company, which is the official dealer
for Bobcat, Husqvarna, Terex and more,
operates two satellite stores in Haines and
Ketchikan. The company’s customer base is
extremely diverse and includes everything
from very heavy construction; oil and gas;
and federal, state, and local municipalities to
homeowners looking to clear building lots.
“One of the things that makes us different is
that we’re more willing to deal with the homeowner market than a lot of other dealerships,”
says Boehm. “One minute I’ll be talking to a
forty-year veteran construction worker about
the specific type of equipment he needs and
two minutes later talking to an older lady
about how to run a rented excavator.
“We strive to be very efficient in sales,
service, and rental because there is so much
carryover from one market to the next,” he
adds. “You need to be able to do all three really
All three companies (Bobcat of Juneau,
ILTA, and Yukon Equipment) hire factory-
trained mechanics to make sure that they
can fix whatever they sell—or even products
that have been purchased elsewhere. They
also take custom orders, whether through the
manufacturers they represent or in-house.
“We get special orders quite often, and, if we
can’t provide it from our manufacturers, the
dealership will accommodate adding or sub-
tracting from equipment to fit specifications,”
says Dick. “Our team has a lot of experience,
so they can customize just about anything.”
“We’ve had some challenging cases—for
example, we worked with a disabled customer
who could only move his left arm and one
foot and wanted to use a Bobcat skid steer
for mowing and snow removal,” says Boehm.
“We worked with him to figure out how to get
around the control options. We also modified
an ATV for a local tour company to create
extra seating capacity.
“When people ask us if we can build some
odd attachment, we never say no, at least
until we try it,” he laughs. “There are so
many different industries here, especially
in Southeast, that we’re servicing a very
diverse group of people with diverse needs.
You never know what will walk in the door.”
According to Klever, being willing to go
above and beyond is one of the reasons that
customers come back. “Our company is
smaller in size compared to a couple of others
here, so we try to make up for that by having
a staff that is extremely customer service-oriented,” he explains. “They’ll come in on
weekends if need be or stay late at night so
someone can bring in a piece of equipment.
We do more to make up for other companies’
size advantage—we’re like Croatia in the
Areas for Growth
As Alaska’s economy continues to shift, so do
the markets for equipment dealerships.