Watt Equipment continues to grow and serve
When Ernie and Janet Watt married in 1982, just like many newlyweds they had no idea what the future had in store for them.
Ernie was a soybean farmer and Janet and her mother owned and operated Townsend Grocery on Hwy 16 in DeKalb. It was just three years later — after Ernie had left farming to work at ChemWaste, and had spent a short time in the short pulpwood business —the couple decided to begin selling used tractors, leading to the birth of Watt Equipment.
The business began with a small shop behind the Townsend Grocery, which Janet helped run until the death of her mother Myrtle Townsend. In 1998 they closed the grocery story and began focusing completely on the equipment business. The old grocery, which still stands guard along Hwy 16, is now a storage building.
“We could not have imagined the way our business has grown,” Janet Watt said. “It’s been a blessing to us.”
While she was still in the grocery store, Janet was having to answer the phone there and then run down to the shop to deliver messages. When the grocery was closed a new office was built on the front of the shop where they still do the bulk of their business.
There first big break came in 1986 when they signed on with Zetor Tractor, then began selling Rhino rotary cutters and Claas Hay equipment in 1989.
Over the years they have sold other brands of machinery which they no longer sell, but still offer parts and repair on.
“We were able to get Massey Ferguson in 2017, which was a very good opportunity,” she said.
Not only does Watt Equipment offer a line of machinery for farmers in the area, they also have a full service parts department and offer service on many other brands. They also stock such items as batteries and lubricants.
Janet Watt said Ernie handled a lot of the repairs in the early days along with a trusted employee or two, but over time they have had many great people working for them.
“We have both learned a lot over the years and are still learning,” she said.
Both Ernie and Janet say they have enjoyed the journey and look forward to the future.
“We want to thank our customers for the last 37 years and look forward to continuing to serve them and hopefully making new customers,” she said.