Farming out the goods
The Stateliner passenger bus from Adelaide makes the two hour journey north to Crystal Brook, a town of nearly 1400 residents, 3.14pm most days.
Aside from taking passengers into the gulf towns of Port Augusta and Whyalla it has been used, on occasion, to deliver spare parts from Truckline, should local retail store Rocky River Ag require something relatively obscure for a commercial vehicle on short notice.
This practice is, of course, the exception rather than the rule. Rocky River Ag is a one-stop shop for locals, many of whom spring from various small businesses associated with the rich agricultural landscape that surrounds the town.
Local farms produce grain, wheat, lentils and canola in abundance, with cattle and livestock also in supply.
Rocky River Ag, which has over 20 years of history, was established primarily to cater to the agricultural machinery of this market.
But in recent years a growing trend of farmers have started to invest in their own heavy vehicles thus removing the need for subcontractors according to Bradly Bayly, Rocky River Ag Store 2IC.
“A lot of them can justify buying their own trucks and doing their own runs,” he says.
“As things are improving and they expand their operations, it’s now increasingly viable for them to own their own equipment.”
As a result Rocky River Ag has diversified its product range.
It now carries a host of truck parts and offers truck repairs having broadened its services from tractors in 2015 according to Bradly, the same year he began working there. The seeds were planted when they opened a new showroom in 2012.
“The farmers we deal with all own trucks nowadays. Because no one was catering to that market in town we saw an opportunity,” he says.
With 80 per cent of Truckline inventory on hand the store specialises in emergency components like brake valves, brake boosters, brake lines, brake drums, mud-flaps, mirrors and a few cosmetic items.
“Over the past 18 months we’ve taken Truckline on board and it has definitely grown,” Bradly says.
“The turnover is increasing. Locals no longer have to drive half an hour down to Port Pirie to get what they need.”
His expectation is that it will continue to grow such is Bradly’s confidence in the competitive pricing, quality service and range of the store which employs 30 staff across the workshop, sales and parts.
“The important thing is the right attitude towards the customer and having the right product the first time. We can’t afford to give them the wrong product as it won’t solve their problem.”
According to Bradly, Truckline will, if need be, confirm Rocky River Ag is providing the customer with the correct product on the spot.
Bradly says it only takes Truckline a few minutes at most to identify the correct part number, which is important as the customer is usually at the counter waiting on it.
In some cases, usually emergencies, Truckline has even driven parts to the Stateline bus to insure Rocky River Ag receives the item the same day.
“It’s been close a couple of times and they’ve even gone the extra mile to track down parts they don’t have on hand on behalf of us and got them on the bus so that they arrive by afternoon here. Now that’s service.”