The history of factory stores in the forklift industry

forklift factory stores intella liftparts

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The majority of forklift dealers in the United States are independently owned companies, typically founded by entrepreneurs.  Some of these dealerships have existed for many years, now managed by second and sometimes third generation family members.  However,  some forklift manufacturers have elected, in some markets, to market their product through directly owned subsidiaries, also known as “factory stores”.

Here’s an overview of the various forklift manufacturers who own retail operations in North America.  This is by no means an exhaustive list–if you have information that you’d like to contribute to this blog, please comment below or email us.

Komatsu (formerly Allis Chalmers)

Komatsu forklift inherited a number of factory stores after taking over the Kalmar AC business unit from Kalmar in 1988.

Factory owned stores include:

  • Atlanta, Georgia (1960)
  • Chicago, Illinois (1963)
  • California (1963):  Fresno, Oakland, Stockton.  Ontario and Long Beach (2001).  Also Ontario, CA
  • Komatsu Equipment Company (construction division): Nevada, Utah, Wyoming

Unicarriers Forklift

(Nissan/TCM, division of Mitsubishi) began buying dealerships recently.

  • In 2014, New England Industrial Truck was acquired.
  • In 2015, Capital Equipment and Handling (Hartland, Wisconsin) was bought by Unicarriers.

MCFA

(Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America) owns two dealerships and a fleet management/rental subsidiary.

  • SCMH (Southern California Material Handling), based in the Los Angeles area, became part of the MCFA family in 2006.
  • Daily Equipment (Mississippi & Louisiana)  was bought in 2012.
  • FMS Equipment Rentals in Houston TX appears to have been part of the MCFA family since 1998.
  • Lone Star Lift was started in 2005 as a subsidiary of MCFA.  It was eventually folded into the Daily Equipment acquisition (store is now branded Daily Equipment/Houston TX territory though territory is non contiguous with historic Daily Equipment territory in states of LA and MS).

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Taylor

Taylor Machine Works owns a number of dealerships under the Sudden Service brand name.

Current factory store locations include:

  • Gillete, WY (covers North Dakota/South Dakota/Wyoming/Nebraska/part of Kansas)
  • Miami FL
  • Richmond VA
  • Hope Mills NC
  • Louisville MS
  • W Memphis AR
  • Alabama: Bessemer, Montgomery and Mobile
  • Covington GA
  • NJ/international: Taylor International
  • Texas: 3 stores (replaced Briggs as dealer in 2016)

Toyota Forklift

There appear to be two different ownership approaches Toyota takes towards dealerships in the USA.

Complete ownership vs minority share of ownership

These dealers are:

  • ProLift (Ohio/Indiana/Kentucky/W Virginia) Acquired in 2007.  Also known as Toyota Material Handling Midwest.  As of 2015, still a Taylor dealer though there’s this.
  • Liftow (Canada) and Badger (Wisconsin).  Acquired in 2011.
  • TMH Ohio (acquired former Interlift Enterprises in 2013)
  • TMH Northeast (Pennsylvania/New Jersey–acquired certain Kenco locations in 2012)
  • Atlas Companies (Chicago) 2011
  • Florida Lift Systems / Southern States Toyotalift
  • Garrison Service Company – 2018 Acquired and renamed Toyota Material Handling MidSouth

Ownership through other Toyota family companies:

Toyota Lift NW (Oregon) owned by Toyota Tsusho Group

Past ownership:

Toyota Lift of Los Angeles (pre 2000s)  (Sold in 2007 to S Basu)

Raymond

Raymond Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Toyota Group  (see history here).

Like Toyota, Raymond has a similar approach to dealer ownership.  Some dealerships are 100% Raymond owned, others Raymond holds either minority or majority ownership positions with past management holding the other portions.  The number of Raymond dealers is actually fairly small–there are only around 23 in the entire country, and Raymond effectively controls the majority of them.

As of August, 2017, there are a total of 16 Raymond dealerships where Raymond parent company Toyota Material Handling owns anywhere from 49% to 100% of shares.

Wholly or partially owned Raymond dealerships (verified)

  • GN Johnston Canada
  • Raymond Handling Concepts Corporation – 100% as of 2018
  • Pengate Handling Systems of New York, Inc.
  • Abel Womack, Inc.
  • Heubel Material Handling, In
  • Associated (Illinois/Indiana)
  • Carolina Handling, LLC
  • Malin Integrated Handling Solutions and Design
  • Raymond Handling Consultants Florida
  • Raymond Handling Solutions Southern California
  • Raymond Storage Concepts
  • Shaw Material Handling Systems

An interesting article on Raymond’s approach towards ownership of its dealers can be found here

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Crown

Crown Equipment Corporation‘s  has consistently grown the number of factory-owned retailers throughout North America, with a large number of new factory-owned stores launched in the last ten years.

Legacy Stores

There exists a core group of Crown factory stores which have existed for many years.  Those stores include:

Atlanta, Georgia (opened 1984), Detroit, Grand Rapids, Los Angeles,  San Francisco, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Denver, and Houston markets are all handled by long time Crown factory-owned stores.

In other markets, Crown has historically launched factory stores when dealers have failed financially, failed to hit Crown sales objectives, or, in certain cases Crown has purchased successful existing dealers.  There have been few recent instances where Crown ended relations with one independently owned dealership and awarded the product line to another independently owned dealership.    When Crown makes a dealer change, it invariably opens a factory-owned store.

1980s and 1990s

  • 1989: Ft Wayne / Elkhart IN opened (former dealer Hull Lift Truck)
  • 1994: Milwaukee opened (former dealer Stack & Store Systems)
  • Late 1990s: Pompano FL opened (former dealer Lift Systems Inc)
  • 1999: OKI Systems acquired by Dicke family (which owns Crown) (Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana).  Operation ran as separate company for a number of years then eventually converted to factory-owned stores.

2000 through 2010 

  • Early 2000s:  Memphis TN (former dealer Equipment Engineering)
  • 2002: San Antonio: (former dealer Southwest Lift)
  • 2002: Tifton GA: (former dealer Carlton Co)
  • 2003: Dallas TX: Crown purchases former dealer Shannon Corp and rebrands stores as Crown
  • 2003: Salt Lake City UT(former dealer Material Handling Equipment Co)
  • 2004: Tampa/Orlando: (former dealer Florida Lift Systems, lawsuit, etc)
  • 2006: Rockford IL cancels dealer Material Handling Services
  • 2008: Minneapolis MN (former dealer Lift, Stack, and Store)
  • 2008: Charlotte NC (former dealer LiftOne /CAT dealer)
  • 2008: Las Vegas NV (former dealer Inland Hobbs/CAT dealer)
  • 2010: Des Moines IA (former dealer Liftruck Service)

2011 – 2018

  • 2012: Fresno CA (former dealer Quinn /CAT dealer)
  • 2013: Kansas City KS area (former dealer Lift Truck Sales & Service)
  • 2013: New Orleans & Shreveport LA (former dealer was Daily Equipment/CAT dealer who was purchased by MCFA)
  • 2013: Cleveland OH (former dealer Towlift/CAT dealer)
  • 2014: Eastern Canada:  Crown purchases Ryder Material Handling.  2018 Crown re-brands Ryder locations to Crown factory stores.
  • 2014: Wichita KS (former dealer Lift Truck Center)
  • 2015: Richmond VA (former dealer Virginia Forklift)
  • 2015: Akron OH (former dealer Fallsway Equipment/CAT dealer)
  • 2015: Providence RI Crown acquires long time dealer Crellin Handling
  • 2015: Raleigh NC  (former dealer Gregory Poole/was CAT dealer, dropped CAT in 2015 to become Hyster-Yale dealer)
  • 2018:  St Louis MO (former dealer Allied Industrial) apparently acquired; branding from Allied goes away, turns into Crown factory store
  • 2019: Reno/Sparks NV (former dealer Industrial Handling Equipment either drops Crown or is cancelled.  New Crown factory store opens March, 2019

Hyster Forklift

Until 1991, Hyster Company owned and operated the Hyster Sales Company with stores in Northern California, Oregon, and Washington.  In 1991, Hyster sold Hyster Sales Company to The Pape Group based in Eugene OR.

In 1998 Hyster bought the former Bode Finn and Quimby dealerships from Nationsrent and renames the company Hyster Mideast.  The dealership ended up being short lived, in 2003 Hyster sold the firm to dealer MH Equipment.

Yale

When Yale was an operating division of Eaton the firm operated a number of factory stores throughout the United States.  Eaton divested all of these stores prior to the Nacco acquisition of Yale in 1985,

Presently Hyster-Yale owns no dealerships in North America.

Doosan

As of 2018, factory stores in Georgia (Buford, Austell, metro Atlanta).  Doosan purchased All Lift of GA and American Forklift.  In California, Doosan operates a location in Buena Park after acquiring Industrial Forklifts from former Toyota president Shankar Basu.

Summary: Forklift OEMs with factory stores

Crown

Komatsu

Raymond

Taylor

Toyota

Unicarriers/Nissan

MCFA

Doosan


Are you a general manager or dealer principal of an independently owned forklift dealership?  Thanks for taking the time to read this post.    You should check out our SIS forklift radar.  Forklift/pedestrian accidents are a serious problem and your customers expect you to find solutions.  Learn more what SIS can do here.


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