Stan Houston Equipment creates ‘customer experience’ in new home

March 28, 2019

Stan Houston Equipment Co., “probably the best-kept secret in Sioux Falls,” has raised its profile considerably with its move into the former Kmart building on West 12th Street.

The almost 80,000-square-foot building is more than double the size of the Marion Road location, operations manager Russ Moir said. “We were literally up in the rafters there and had added on lots of times.” The new location was designed “to make it a customer experience.”

Even the parking lot will draw in more customers — it went from 15 spots to about 300, making it convenient for contractors driving a truck with a trailer. “Before if it was full, sometimes they’d just drive on by,” Moir said.

While its core business is equipment and products related to concrete – everything but the concrete itself, Moir said – Stan Houston serves contractors and do-it-yourself customers in several construction areas. In addition to selling equipment, it also provides repair and warranty service. A growing area of the business is equipment rental, “from a garden tiller to a 135-foot boom and everything in between.” The company’s pumps have been in high demand during recent flooding.

The family-owned company bought the vacant Kmart building last summer and began the remodeling process, tearing out 6,500 ceiling tiles and countless floor tiles. Crews painted the ceiling and walls, and polished the concrete floor. They set up customer service areas throughout the store and are still working in some of the behind-the-scenes areas.

Three weeks ago, the store was bare, and employees and vendors began stocking merchandise.

“Everybody pulled together to make it happen,” Moir said.

While the new location is spacious, it’s also filled with expanded product lines. In the power tool area, DeWalt, Milwaukee and Makita have their own horseshoe-shaped display areas.

There’s a wall of Festool equipment, which is probably the largest in the U.S., Moir said. One side of an entire aisle is lined with tool belts. “You don’t see that everywhere,” he said. And there’s even room to display skid loaders in the showroom.

“We have over 2,000 vendors,” Moir said. “And of those, 400 are ordered from every month.”

With the additional space, the company plans to create a training center for employees and customers. Moir envisions a range of classes. “We’re going to start coming up with ideas.”

The business, which was founded in 1948 by Stan Houston, has passed through different owners through the years, Moir said. Dave Bozied bought it in 2000, and when he died in 2009, his son, Joe, took it over. It expanded to Rapid City in 1960 and has added stores in Sioux City, Aberdeen and Watertown since 2004.

Stan Houston employs about 110 people, with half of them in Sioux Falls, Moir said. Many of them have been employees for decades, even up to 40 years, he said. That depth of experience leads to a knowledge base that “sets us apart from other places,” Moir said. He also refers to it as a “tribal knowledge.” If one employee doesn’t know the answer, another one will.

The doors opened Saturday, and a grand opening event runs through Friday. Stan Houston timed the opening to coincide with its annual contractors show. Forty-eight vendors are set up throughout the store through Friday.

Hours are 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.

While the new location has warehouse space, the business plans to keep its warehouse at the Marion Road location but will sell the store, which had been its home since 1979.

“The owners at the time said we’ll never need new space,” Moir said.

The company’s success has proven them wrong.

“We are very, very fortunate to be a part of Sioux Falls. It’s a very good place to do business.”

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Stan Houston Equipment creates ‘customer experience’ in new home

Stan Houston Equipment has more than doubled in size with its new store in the former Kmart on West 12th Street.

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