Business plows up profits serving agriculture

Feb. 16, 2013 @ 11:27 PM

What started out as a small business grew into three over the years.

About 22 years ago, Joel Thomas began selling tractors and other equipment in Oakboro.

Today he operates Monroe Tractor & Equipment, Oakboro Tractor & Equipment and Concord Tractor &Equipment.

The Oakboro native owns the businesses with his mother, Norma Thomas and his uncle, Rick Helms, works as the general manager for their Monroe store.

“This is the greatest thing,” Helms said in reference to the business opening in Monroe last year.

A lot of people have come to the Monroe location and told him that the city really needed a store like Monroe Tractor & Equipment. Since the store offers tractors, tractor parts, lawn products and other items, it has been very helpful to the many farmers and landscapers in the area. He grew up in Monroe and sees the business as a good addition to the community, Helms said.

Joel Thomas previously worked at a funeral home but eventually tired of that line of work and began selling tractors on the side out of a small storage building before opening his tractor and equipment stores, Helms said.

“From that little storage building in that little vacant lot he bought another building,” he said.

With the addition of the new building, his nephew moved into selling lawn equipment and catering to the local landscapers and farmers in Oakboro. In March 2012, Joel Thomas opened a location in Concord and then afterwards opened the Monroe location in April. He previously worked at his nephew’s Oakboro and Concord stores but eventually was asked to be the general manager of the Monroe location, which he enjoys doing because it’s closer to home and he often sees many local people stop by for the products they offer. In addition to their products, the stores also offer free classes about once a year. On Thursday for instance, they offered a free class for pesticide certification to help landscapers and others, Helms said.

“As our customer base grows, we try to give them (customers) good service, number one, and treat them how we would want to be treated,” Norma Thomas said.

She’s happy to see how the business has expanded over the years since the days her son first started out in the small outbuilding to now having three stores in three different locations. In addition to offering many different products to the community, they also try to give back to and help the people, charities and community organizations in the areas where each of their stores is located, Norma Thomas said.

“We have good products at good prices,” Tony Hildreth, a salesman at Monroe Tractor and Equipment, said.

He is from Monroe and sees the store as a good addition to the city and surrounding community, he said.

For more information about Monroe Tractor & Equipment call 704-635-8810.

The business is at 1515 Morgan Mill Road and its hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. — 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. — 12 p.m.