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Bartron Supply Inc. – Generational Success

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Family, farmers, and friends are the foundation on which Stark & Jennie Bartron built Bartron Supply. Founded in 1948, the business sought to support the local farming community. Stark Sr. was fond of a particular green tractor on his farm – the John Deere. With high hopes, Stark Sr. asked Jennie to write a letter to John Deere expressing his interest in a dealership. The letter was approved, and Bartron Supply became the first John Deere Dealer in Northeast Pennsylvania.

Over the years, the Bartron family and the business grew. They expanded their product lines to include Husqvarna, Honda power equipment, and Bobcat’s compact construction equipment line. Bartron Supply became a staple name to the people of Wyoming County, from farmers to operators to homeowners. In 1980, Stark Sr. stepped down as CEO as they welcomed his son, Stark Bartron II, as the company’s new owner. And in 2014, after almost 35 years, Stark II handed down the business to his son, Stark Bartron III, and daughter, Bekah Frisco. And under this new duo, Bartron Supply saw growth unlike ever before.

 

In 2018, Bobcat approached the Bartron family with an opportunity for expansion. Having found great success in Tunkhannock with Bobcat’s equipment line, they knew this was the next step in growing with the company. By June 2019, they had opened their first extension, Bobcat of Binghamton, in Binghamton, New York. Continuing their expansion, they set their eyes on Honesdale, opening store number three in March of 2020 – Bobcat of Wayne County. And this fall, Bobcat of Wayne County will be moving into its brand-new dealership, currently under construction in Waymart.

 

The journey to today was not always easy. In 1977, a devastating fire tore through the original building. Far from repair, the Bartron’s decided to rebuild, opening the new store less than a year later just across the road. And in 2011, crisis struck again in the form of a flood, leaving Bartron Supply’s showroom under 3-feet of rushing water. Damaged but not destroyed, they cleared the old showroom and added the now-standing 10,000 ft showroom onto the old building. The employees set up temporary trailers to keep the farmers, businesses, and residents up and running during construction. Through all this misfortune, the Bartron family remained resilient. They have a legacy to protect and will keep moving forward.

 

Next year, Bartron Supply will be celebrating 75 years in business. Success is so much more than the years in business. Bartron Supply measures success in the day-to-day interactions with their customers and the relationships they have cultivated along this journey to 75. None of Bartron Supply’s success would be possible without their hardworking and dedicated team. The Bartron Supply family extends their gratitude and love to the wonderful people of Wyoming County for the generations of customer support!

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Family-Run Auto Parts Store Builds
Upon 45-Year Reputation

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The Mile Hill Auto Parts family of employees includes (from left)
Chris Henry, Tim Henry, Robert Drobish,
Tom Henry, Melissa Stonier, and Seth Johnston.

In 1977, Tom Henry of Tunkhannock decided to build and operate a tire shop on Route 6 just west of town. Before he finished construction of the building, some friends convinced him that what the area really needed was a new auto parts store. With $35,000 in inventory and one employee besides himself, Mile Hill Auto Parts opened to the public and has been at the same location for 45 years.

The Henry’s property stretched to the river and, in the 1980s, a community ballpark opened bearing the NAPA name, the national auto parts supplier with whom Mile Hill has had a successful licensing agreement since the start. Tom built a two story addition in the 1990s as the business continued to grow. When the Tunkhannock bypass was constructed on the south side of town along the river, the property was split, but the ball field and the store remained intact. “It’s sort of an icon,” said Chris Henry, who purchased the business from his uncle in 2021 and officially took ownership on Sept. 1. “It grew in leaps and bounds and it’s been on a fairly steady trajectory ever since.”

Chris moved with his parents, Earl and Shirley Warner Henry, to Florida in the 1960s. Though he remained in the Sunshine State after finishing his education and starting to build his experience in retail sales, he enjoyed trips back to Pennsylvania. “I’ve always wanted to move here,” Chris related. “Even though it wasn’t officially home, it always felt like home.” Chris married Allison Hnatko, whose family was from the Lake Winola area.

With four full-time and two part-time employees, Chris embarked on an expansion of the product lines and the retail side of the business, including Milwaukee auto tools, which have proven popular with customers. He has also enhanced his towing section and the store’s hydraulics line. “We’ve invested in larger-capacity equipment to make bigger hoses because we believe the demand is there,” Chris stated, adding that the need for larger hoses is driven by the natural gas industry, which he had in mind when he added more heavy duty parts for repairing trucks, skids steers, back hoes and the like.

Having sold various commodities over the years, including real estate, Frito Lay products and wholesale groceries for a large Florida-based chain, Chris has seen many sides of the purchasing public and how tastes and expectations are constantly evolving.

He credits the continuing appeal of Mile Hill Auto Parts to both high-quality merchandise and the personality and professionalism that staff members present to the public. “I think it’s still important to the majority of people to patronize a locally owned business,” said Chris. “If somebody’s got a problem with an older vehicle or tractor, they come here.” But not as many people are restoring older vehicles, and there are fewer farmers to serve. The non-DIYers, as he calls them, and many female customers go to the competition in part, he suggested, because they are more visually appealing. Chris feels that a methodical make-over of the store will attract some new customers who will, in turn, experience Mile Hill’s unique brand of customer service.

He installed new lighting in the store and reconfigured the sales space with the addition of more shelving, all of which he considers image boosters.

Chris also hired Melissa Stonier of Tunkhannock to serve as Mile Hill Auto Parts’ first customer relations manager, focusing on both in-store sales and wholesale selling to auto repair shops in the area. Melissa is a popular server at the Tunkhannock Moose Lodge who was out of the work force for several years to have a child. Melissa said that she is enjoying putting her people skills to use as she meets more people in the community and works to meet their auto service needs. “I think there’s a real opportunity for growth for her,” Chris stated. “I feel that she’s gown a lot professionally already in the time that she’s been here.

The staff continues to be a mix of family and family friends and includes Tim Henry, Seth Johnston, and Robert Drobish. While Tom has officially retired, he stops by the store almost daily and still likes to mow the grounds.

Mile Hill Auto Parts has an active Facebook page on which users can find out the latest product additions and bargains. The store is open from 7 am to 5:30 on weekdays and 7 am to 1:30 pm on Saturdays.

570-836-4746
milehillautoparts@gmail.com

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Top 5 Reasons Your Business Should Sponsor Community Events

Advertising

At some point, many businesses are presented with an opportunity to sponsor a community event in their area. While you may be reluctant initially because of the financial and time investment involved, there are several reasons to sponsor that can have a positive impact on your business.

  1. Great Publicity
    Even if it’s only for a day or two, putting the spotlight on your business can have some major long-term benefits. You’ll gain significant exposure overnight and can get your brand in front of a much larger segment of your demographic. This will often result in an influx of new leads and ultimately customers.
  2. Networking Galore
    Building solid relationships is the key to opening new doors for any business. The more quality contacts you have, the more opportunities will come your way. If you’re looking to quickly expand your network and gain meaningful business relationships, sponsoring an event in your area is a great way to do so. The best part is that it requires very little effort and energy on your part, and most contacts will come right to you.
  3. Improved Reputation
    Reputation management is serious business these days, especially when you consider how quickly a brand’s reputation can spike or plummet because of online reviews and social media. A positive reputation is a fundamental component of generating initial leads and is integral to long-term sustainability.

Sponsoring an event is great because it shows that your business has a legitimate interest in local causes and that you want to contribute to the enrichment of your community.

  1. Stronger Brand Equity
    An improved reputation almost always results in your business being perceived as more credible and trustworthy. In turn, your demographic is more likely to associate your brand name with something positive, which automatically strengthens your brand equity.

This is important because it goes way beyond the day or two that you sponsor a community event and can have a long-lasting effect. In some cases, this can be the catalyst for increased customers and clients for years down the road.

  1. It’s Fairly Affordable
    While it’s true that this type of sponsorship comes at a cost, it’s pretty minimal when you compare it to many other forms of local marketing. For instance, print and radio ads can greatly exceed the cost of sponsorship and may only yield a fraction of the results.

In many cases, sponsoring an event is a one-time thing. However, you can potentially reap the rewards for years to come. It’s especially effective for local brick-and-mortar companies who are primarily trying to reach a limited demographic within their city or region.

If your business is ever approached to be a sponsor, it’s definitely something you should consider. With five strong reasons to sponsor a community event, the pros vastly outweigh the cons. Not only can this help you forge valuable relationships and bring in immediate leads, it can boost your long-term brand equity significantly.

The Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce offers several opportunities annually for your business to gain positive exposure through event sponsorship. To become a sponsor for the Midsummer Mingle, July 21, 2022 or Patriot Day Golf Tournament see the event pages for each and choose your sponsorship level. An investment in your community is an investment in your business.

Resource: https://rmi-solutions.com/top-5-reasons-businesses-should-sponsor-community-events/

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