These two years have been particularly difficult for the retail sector.
COVID-19 has led to continued lockdowns and shifts in consumer behavior. Although 2021 offered hope with the deployment of vaccines and the reopening of the economy, the “great resignation” had an impact on employment throughout the country. This year, beleaguered retailers have struggled with persistent supply chain issues.
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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the retail sector lost nearly 800,000 jobs in 2020 alone.
Through it all, central Indiana-based Reynolds Farm Equipment has not only survived, but thrived. And for a fifth straight year, Reynolds was selected as one of the best places to work in The Indianapolis Star’s survey of employers in central Indiana. The company, founded in 1955 by farmer husbands AW and Arline Reynolds, is the only retailer to make this year’s list.
“It’s been a weird few years,” said Reynolds CEO Michael Bode. “It was very busy and we had to adapt. And that put a lot of stress on our employees, who did amazing things.
Bode worked for Reynolds for nine years and ran the company’s golf and turf division before it was sold to South Carolina-based Greenville Turf and Tractor in early 2020. Although he briefly left the company for Greenville Turf, the Columbus, Indiana native returned as CEO in June 2020 when Governor Eric Holcomb’s stay-at-home order was still impacting the number of retailers operating.
Reynolds’ benefit at this time was classified as an essential business. As an equipment retailer for farmers, homeowners, landscapers and commercial contractors, Reynolds remained open, even though it closed its showrooms for a 40-day period, creating pickup and drop-off. curbside parts delivery. Ultimately, the company was safe from the layoffs that plagued other retailers.
“Anything related to agriculture was deemed essential because the world still needs to be fed,” Bode said. “And the state of the industry now means our customers have money to spend on fleets that badly need updating.”
Although supply chain issues created areas of stress, particularly in the parts division, demand fueled approximately 10% growth in Reynolds’ total employment and created new career paths and opportunities for its employees.
Bode said the company tries to be “as diverse as possible” in its benefits offerings beyond standard medical, dental, 401K and paid time off. The company is still reviewing “Reynolds benefits,” which include an annual “health day” for wellness visits and 20 hours of paid training credit for employees. In 2021, the company gave each employee a stocking stuffer filled with gadgets and toys for their children and spouses.
“What sets us apart is that we have heart,” said Victoria Menale, Reynolds’ chief human resources officer. “We are ready to do what it takes to ensure that our employees and customers are taken care of. We say it’s a family business because it’s a family business, but our employees are our family.
With five locations in Indiana, Menale also says each location is different and has created its own “family within family” where no two work cultures are the same.
“Each store has created a culture that works for the employees in that location,” Menale said. “I think that’s something really unique in our business.”
Employees are also updated on the state of the business, and Bode says it’s important for employees to understand how the business is doing so they know their roles are important and that they are part of it. a team.
“Culture is very important to us,” Bode said. “We are always looking to improve it. We know it’s never perfect. You will never make everyone happy, but we always work to make sure everyone is happy. If you’re always trying to do the right thing, you’re never really wrong.
- Creation: 1955
- Central Indiana locations: 6
- Description: Reynolds Farm Equipment is a leading equipment dealership serving Indiana farmers, homeowners and landscapers.
- Employees in central Indiana: 250
Michael Jackson is a local freelance consumer journalist.