With three businesses—a construction company, farm operation, and aerial spraying service—to manage, Stan and Chuck Sayre seek out reliable equipment and efficient service. Columbus Equipment Company does both so well that Chuck Sayre credits the dealership with helping keep his construction company up and running.
“Construction is a sideline business for us, but Columbus Equipment Company makes it so easy for me to run the company and provide jobs for my guys,” said Sayre, vice president of Sayre Construction, Sayre Farms and Sayre Helicopter.
The history of the three companies is intertwined. Stan Sayre grew up on a Pennsylvania farm and came to Ohio to work at the Lordstown GM plant. In 1969, he went back to farming. He needed reliable aerial spraying work done, so he learned to do it himself. In the late 1980s, Sayre expanded into construction work. His son Chuck joined the company in the mid-1990s and helped grow the construction firm.
One of Sayre Construction’s biggest clients is The Shelly Company. “We do stripping to expose gravel for The Shelly Company in Northeastern Ohio at various pits. We also do pads for commercial developments, and small residential site prep, putting in streets and sewers,” Sayre explained.
The company uses Komatsu PC400LC-6 and PC210LC-10 excavators, dozers including a Komatsu intelligent Machine Control D51i, a WA250 wheel loader with tool carrier, two HM350-1 haul trucks, and a Komatsu CK30 track skid steer. Other pieces from Columbus Equipment include a Kubota utility vehicle, Dresser grader and Talbert lowboy.
Sayre likes Komatsu equipment for two reasons: reliability and excellent support offered by Columbus Equipment Company. “Take the PC400, for example. It does a great job with pipe work and trench boxes. For stripping applications it works very well with the haul trucks. It moves the majority of dirt we move, which is a few hundred thousand yards per year. The trackhoe has worked flawlessly for us. It has 10,000 hours on mostly original parts.”
The haul trucks have been very reliable, too. “That was a big purchase for us, and they have been phenomenal. They sip fuel compared to the Moxy trucks we had before. We were always having to work on the Moxys. The Komatsu trucks are hands-down winners in reliability,” Sayre noted.
“The loader is old, from about 2000, but it only has 2,000 hours on it. We use it for pipework and farmwork. Aside from oil changes, we haven’t had to touch it. We used to have a lot of John Deere equipment, and it was unreliable, it required a lot of service. It is amazing the difference with Komatsu equipment.”
When his equipment does need work, the service he gets from Columbus Equipment’s Richfield store is exceptional, Sayre said. “Our salesman Todd Hornak knows what we need and he handles it. If Dad and I are off doing other things and one of the guys calls with a problem, the store sends a truck and fixes it. I don’t have to worry about it. Columbus Equipment is customer-focused and very service driven. They make sure we are running. If we have a problem, they take care of it immediately.”
Komatsu’s KOMTRAX system gives Sayre added peace of mind by allowing him to keep tabs on his equipment when he is off-site. Last summer, for instance, he got an email alert that a dozer was overheating. He called the operator, who had gone into weeds and didn’t realize pollen was clogging the filter and causing the machine to overheat.
Their Komatsu skid steer got to be a hero when executives of the Swagelok Company called Sayre for help last winter. The company had taken delivery of a new Gulfstream G6 at the Cuyahoga Airport, but piles of plowed snow were blocking the way and they couldn’t get the jet into the hangar. The Sayres used the CK30 to push back the snow piles. “It’s funny how a dumb little skid steer saved the day for a mega-million-dollar jet,” Sayre said with a laugh.
Around Mantua, the Sayres are also known for the July 4th party they hold for local first responders, customers, and community members. Chuck’s wife, Shannon, came up with the idea to hold a party for local police and firefighters after 9/11. The first one drew a couple dozen people and ended with fireworks. Since then, it has grown every year, with about 500 attending in 2015 for a meal and professional fireworks show. “There’s no alcohol, it’s a party you can bring your family to, and Dad encourages everyone to get familiar with the helicopter, especially the kids,” Sayre said.
That family feeling is important to the Sayres. “We work with developers we have worked with for 30 years. My customers are my family,” Sayre said. “That’s one of the things I like about Columbus Equipment Company. They treat me like I’m family. It’s rare to find that kind of relationship in today’s world.”