'Bobcat' equipment expands into Clarion

CLARION - Clarion will soon be the newest home for a compact construction equipment dealership, a Bobcat company official told the CLARION NEWS Sept. 25.

Bobcat's Clarion location will be housed at the former Clarion Ford dealership along East Main Street.

Bobcat of Kane General Manager Ron Brewer said Clarion fits well along with their Kane and Olean, New York, dealerships.

"Geographically, it's kind of a straight line deal from Olean to Kane to Clarion," Brewer said. "Bobcat Company wanted the Interstate 80 corridor slot filled in Clarion County. We looked into sites in DuBois and Brookville, but Clarion had a hometown feel to it. We found the Ford dealership and went from there."

In the spring of 2019, Bobcat approached Clarion Ford to gauge the viability of moving into the old Ford building. After ongoing speculation that Bobcat planned to purchase the 13,000 square feet building, a deal was made official on Aug. 30.

The building had been leased by Clarion County, which had been storing emergency management equipment there since December 2018.

During one of their scheduled meetings in July, county commissioners stated they would step away from further use of the building, as a then unnamed business had expressed interested in buying the site.

"We were in negotiations but decided we didn't want to stand in the road of a new business opportunity in Clarion County," Commissioner Ted Tharan explained during a July 30 work session.

The company is anticipating opening the dealership in late February or early March. Brewer noted a grand opening for the dealership is planned, but not until spring 2020 when weather conditions become adequate.

"Bobcat has been the leader in construction equipment for 60 years," Brewer said. "We have an excellent track record and stand by our record and longevity. Not only do we work for Bobcat companies, we truly believe in the services we offer without hesitation."

The dealer will provide Bobcat compact construction equipment and tractors. Roughly 35 units of new inventory will be available for prospective customers to purchase. Another 15 to 20 machines will be in stock to rent.

Bobcat of Clarion is set to include a full line of Bobcat compact skid-steer loaders, mini excavators, track loaders, work machines, versahandlers, utility vehicles and a variety of assorted attachments.

In addition to equipment, Bobcat will have an onsite Bobcat certified technician in the shop to provide assistance to customers. At some point, the location will also add a road service technician who will complete general services and work on equipment breakdowns.

The shop will be fully staffed, with parts, service and rental personnel totaling six full-time employees with the possibility of expansion in the future.

"We're hoping for a big success," Brewer said. "As we grow, hopefully so will the employee lineup."

The building will be slightly revamped, receiving new paint and other exterior work to form the basis for Bobcat's branding. New outdoor lighting is set to be added as well.

"We're really looking forward to the relationships we can build in Clarion and surrounding communities," Brewer said. "We're very excited."