FLORA — Sure, you can get a John Deere belt buckle or ball cap. But what if you want a John Deere dog’s chew toy, steering wheel cover or even a John Deere ant farm?
They’ve got those, too.
John Deere farm implements dealer Tri Green Tractor in Flora and its offshoot gift shop and Internet business, trigreentoytractor.com, were named Carroll County’s 2013 Business of the Year by the countywide chamber of commerce.
It’s only the third business to receive that distinction. The relatively young Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, organized in 2005, named Indiana Packers, Delphi, its first Business of the Year in 2011. Last year, The Grapevine Boutique in Flora received the award.
Chamber executive director Julia Leahy said recent growth and physical expansion the Flora business, one of four Tri Green locations, has benefited the county.
“We’re happy that they’re here and that they’re expanding,” Leahy said. “That tells us that they’re here for a long time.”
The Flora location then known as Jackson-Lee-Pearson merged in 2011 with two other John Deere dealerships to form one entity. Since then, the company has remodeled its showroom and launched an online toy and gift retail business.
The merger allowed the three dealership to take advantage of the larger scale a group would provide. But in addition to the cost savings generated by combining forces, the group intended to seek greater security for its employees, which in 2011 numbered just under 100.
Even though the area was in the middle of an economic downturn in 2011, agriculture was booming, Tri Green partner Jason Pearson said. “It was as good as it was bad on the other side.”
For that reason, Pearson and the other two partners decided to put their heads together, so to speak, while business was doing well. And both the Flora location and the group as a whole have continued to grow — by about 10 percent since the merger in July 2011, Pearson said.