MFG Partners

Mellott expansion continues with strategic partnerships

Company leaders from Mellott, Marion Machine and NorX gathered earlier this year at the Georgia Construction Aggregate Association Management Workshop & Expo. Pictured from left are David Niblett, Jeremy Glaze, Rich Blake, Doug Glaze, Jim Levy, Hugh McMichael, Mike Stavola, Joe McNeill, Cory Pruett, Geoff Welcyng and Jason Russell. Photo: P&Q Staff

No two equipment dealers are alike in their business model.

Among the items separating dealers from one another are overall product offering, markets served and how service is delivered.

Every dealer, of course, believes its business model is a winning one. The same goes for what dealers believe works and what doesn’t industrywide.

Rich Blake, president and CEO of Mellott, is one dealer who’s passionate about his company’s model. He is a believer in what works for his company and its customers.

Blake, however, says the Mellott model isn’t the typical one deployed across the aggregate industry.

“The typical AED (Associated Equipment Distributors) dealer wants to carry many construction equipment products like front-end loaders, cranes, aerial lifts or forklifts,” says Blake, whose company is based in Pennsylvania. “We don’t want to do that.”

Crushing and screening is Mellott’s forte. That’s the lane the fourth-generation company operates in.

But there’s more to the Mellott model than aggregate processing. Mellott is strategic about where it operates as a dealer and how its people work.

The company is also particular about who it partners with, having forged deals in recent months with KastRock Services (Lakeland, Florida), NorX (Lawrenceville, Georgia) and Southern Machinery (Nashville, Tennessee).

“We’re not just going around meeting with every distributor that’s in the business,” says Blake, whose company also has a partnership with Marion Machine that stretches back to 2017. “We want an industry leader with the best brand in the market.”

Aligning values

Mellott, which was established in 1920, is headquartered in Warfordsburg, Pennsylvania. Photo: Mellott

In the dealer universe, Blake says the best brands do several things extremely well.

“If you have a good brand, that means you’re a provider of great service, your business is likable, it’s easy to do business with you, you ‘get it’ – whatever ‘it’ is – and you have passion,” he says.

For Mellott, rural America is a tenet of its brand and those of its newfound partners.

“What we’re looking for is small town USA,” says Blake, when interviewed in February at the Georgia Construction Aggregate Association (GCAA) Management Workshop & Expo. “Our corporate headquarters is in a town (Warfordsburg, Pennsylvania) with less than 3,000 people. Lawrenceville, Georgia is not that big of a city. Marion, North Carolina is a small town. You get down to Lakeland, Florida, and it’s a small, rural community.”

Small-town values matter to Mellott. The company knows where it excels and where, ultimately, it would not.

“For us, we have to get to a point where the location is right,” Blake says. “We’re not looking for densely populated regions. We’re going where we see an opportunity to grow and where infrastructure is touted as a necessity.”

Application knowledge matters to Mellott, as well.

“Could you imagine us getting into the paving business?” Blake says. “That wouldn’t make sense for us because we aren’t experts. We don’t intimately know that industry, and it wouldn’t align with our business. So, we wouldn’t be looking to expand in that direction.”

Carrying out a vision

According to Blake, he had a vision in the late 1990s that Mellott would one day expand as it has through partnerships like the ones with KastRock, Marion Machine, NorX and Southern Machinery.

Still, he says the timing of such deals is critical because the dynamic within a market must be right.

“If you operate in a market territory that has a small machine population, you’re only going to be able to buy ‘X’ number of parts and equipment,” Blake says. “Local availability is everything to customers because globalization has changed the way people think and work. You can’t support from a different country or across time zones. I don’t care if you have the best manufacturing and the best logistics people. There is no way you can support same-day availability without being local.”

Same-day delivery is important to Mellott because it’s important to aggregate producers. Customer downtime is measured in minutes – not days or weeks.

“We can achieve our goal by expanding into new territories through partnerships, identifying companies that truly share our passion and values,” Blake says.

NorX is an example of a company whose values align with Mellott’s.

“NorX is the epitome of what [same-day delivery] means for the industry,” says Blake, who visited with P&Q alongside NorX leaders during the February GCAA meeting.

“They get the quote done in minutes and deliver the part in the same day. We have to be able to do that, but you have to be able to have a manageable population to support. You couldn’t afford to invest millions of dollars if the territory the business operated in has a small installed base of machines.”

Related: A visit with Mellott Company’s Justin Mellott

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