Charlotte, NC – With the recent appointment of J.F. Sahlberg & Co. Inc. as its authorized dealer in western Washington State, Champion Motor Graders has expanded its nationwide sales network with specialized insight into the needs of government buyers.
Bryan Abernathy, Executive Vice President of Champion Motor Graders, welcomed John Sahlberg and his colleagues to the Champion team. “Municipal, state and county fleets have always been important customers for the grader industry,” Abernathy said. “Some OEMs are just waking up to the sales potential there, but J.F. Sahlberg has had that focus for many years. They are a great fit for delivering the benefits of Champion to government buyers.”
“Curb to curb” for government fleets
J.F. Sahlberg & Co. Inc., based in Buckley, WA, has been operating since the 1950s, supplying specialized equipment to both private and public fleets from its earliest days. According to John Sahlberg, the third generation of his family to run the business, his firm made a strategic decision to develop its expertise in government sales about 10 years ago. “Selling to municipal and county equipment buyers really is a bit different from selling to contractors,” Sahlberg claims. “Making a sale requires working with layers of government, not just talking to one or two guys like you do with a contractor. It takes time to build up a sale; the process takes a little longer and a little more legwork.”
Sahlberg’s dealership originally supplied a line of fire trucks and pumpers to local fire departments then began to add street sweeping and snow clearing equipment for its public works customers. “Then one thing just led to another,” says Sahlberg. “Now we represent mainly road maintenance equipment; we sell everything municipal fleets need from curb to curb.”
Shared history in motor grading
With the addition of Champion Graders to his inventory, Sahlberg has a new top line to provide for many of his customers. Sahlberg has some prior history with the Champion brand from the days of the 700 Series full-size graders from Champion Road Machinery, now Volvo Motor Graders. “We introduced the old Champion to the states of Alaska, Washington and Oregon,” Sahlberg recalls. “The Champion Compact Graders are a good fit for anyone needing a motor grader. A lot of thought went into the Champion product initially and the Abernathys have continued to build on their original design ever since. They offer a very complete line: single axle, tandem, all-wheel drive. We’re very excited about the new Production Class models, too, which take the line right up to up to 120 hp. I like to sell them; they’re straightforward machines; a good, well-made product.”
Sahlberg sees this as a good time to be re-introducing the Champion line to his customers. “Many of our customers are busy re-habbing narrow streets and alleys, where Champion products are the right fit for the job. Graders are a good way to clear snow around here, too, and Champion Graders have the strength and speed to do it.”
“We’re fortunate right now because contractors aren’t buying much equipment these days,” he continues. “Because of that, some competitors are taking more interest in government fleets, but they will have a lot to learn. Our plan is to keep doing what we have been doing for the last decade. We just keep working with our customers; see what they’re doing and what they need and see what’s new in the industry – then we’re ready to help them do it.”
One of the oldest names in the equipment industry, Champion Motor Graders has specialized in the development of motor graders and attachments for over 25 years. Champion engineering and manufacturing, based in Charlotte, NC, are dedicated to the production of Compact and Production Class Motor Graders that assure customers of the same productivity and quality standards they expect from the best in full-size construction machinery. The Champion line-up now includes seven basic models with operating weights from 12,000 to 24,000 lbs., featuring the full range of single-axle, tandem and all-wheel 4×4 and 6×6 drive systems. Champion continues to develop a growing range of specialized equipment for the road maintenance and paving industry.