Craig Taylor Equipment Acquires Peterbilt Alaska Assets
Peterbilt manufactures on highway, vocational, and medium duty trucks.
As part of its ongoing effort to provide Alaskans and Alaska businesses with the equipment they need, Craig Taylor Equipment has acquired from Dobbs Peterbilt (headquartered in Tennessee) all of its Alaska Peterbilt assets.
Formerly known as Western Peterbilt and now operating as Peterbilt of Alaska, the assets include branch locations in Anchorage and Fairbanks, equipment, and approximately forty employees.
“Our business has been around for sixty-five years; we have a lot of deeply entrenched customers in Alaska, many of which are also Peterbilt customers—or could be. And so we think there’s a lot of synergy opportunity there that could be beneficial on both sides,” says Craig Taylor Equipment President and CEO Chris Devine.
Even before the acquisition, which closed at the end of 2020, Craig Taylor Equipment offered Alaskans a broad line of equipment options. “We sell everything from STIHL chainsaws and John Deere tractors… to the full line of Bobcat and Doosan heavy construction equipment,” Devine says.
However, by acquiring Peterbilt of Alaska’s assets, Craig Taylor Equipment can offer its customers even more. “A majority of our current customers on those products also have the need for trucking to haul their equipment—at the same time almost all of the truckers, in one way or another, could have a need for Bobcat equipment. So in both directions there’s a lot synergy,” he says.
The move also allows Craig Taylor Equipment to better provide service to the oil and gas industry. “We’ve done various things on the Slope and down on the [Kenai] peninsula, but we are not truly ‘in the game’ like some of our competitors are,” Devine says.
“Mostly that’s because our focus historically has been on smaller equipment—our bread and butter is the Bobcat-sized equipment, which is kind of the middle market and in lower demand on the slope—where Peterbilt gives us the opportunity to move into that territory more formally. A huge part of the business up there is running the haul road and managing trucks running back and forth for oil field support services.”
Craig Taylor Equipment sells a full range of tools and equipment, from chainsaws to tractors to heavy construction equipment.
The acquisition is in line with an effort that the all-Alaskan Craig Taylor Equipment ownership team has been making since they bought Craig Taylor Equipment in 2013. “We’ve been rebuilding and reimagining this business for the last seven years. It was a pretty aged company, so we were able to identify a number of ways to leverage our technology to provide a more progressive business model focused on optimizing the customer experience.”
Over the last seven years Craig Taylor Equipment has remodeled all of its branches and has incorporated cutting-edge technology in its operations, but even with those steps, “There’s only so much organic growth that can be had in the current business,” Devine says. “There’s only so much more market available.”
This led the company to a search for new acquisition opportunities. “We’ve done a number of pretty deep dives in different businesses in the last five, seven years, looking for that next opportunity to how we can expand horizontally,” he says.
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In the fall of 2019, Dobbs Peterbilt was exploring options to leave its Alaska assets behind. “It’s a large company that had these two branches in Alaska that were under-performing—and, frankly, they would admit [were] a bit neglected because they’re not contiguous—so they had decided to divest from their holdings in Alaska.”
It was the right opportunity for everyone and, presented a chance for the Peterbilt dealership to come back under Alaskan ownership, which was a major element of the value proposition moving forward.
“We want to be a full service provider that is focused on excellent customer service and maximizing up-time. If we have a customer, we want to be able to help them get anything they need for all aspects of their business,” Devine says.
“You need a Bobcat for this project: we have you covered. You need a heavy excavator: we have you covered. You need a truck to haul it with: we got you. And, ultimately, if you need a tractor for your cabin, we got you there, too.”
Tasha Anderson is the associate/web editor for Alaska Business Publishing Co.
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