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Leppo Opens Larger Store off I-80 at Salt Springs

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GIRARD, Ohio — After 72 years in business, including 21 in the Mahoning Valley, Leppo Inc., a provider of construction equipment, opened a new and larger store Friday off Interstate 80 at Salt Springs Road.

“We have about five acres out here,” Leppo Vice President Dan Lebeau said at the ribbon cutting. “Most of our stores are off a highway. That’s what we like for visibility, especially for rentals.”

Leppo had studied whether to build a new store here for at least a decade, Lebeau said.

The new 15,750-square-foot outlet is some 3,000 square feet larger than its old address on North Meridian Road.

The company has also added to its staff.

“For this year, we will have 12 employees going forward,” said store manager Matthew Wagner, “and we’ve added two positions already this year.

Leppo employs 130.

For the last 10 years, decade, Leppo’s focused on the rental business, Wagner said.

Sales of equipment have remained strong in the area for 20 years, but rental sales almost doubled in the past three years under Wagner’s leadership, Lebeau reported.

“We simply outgrew the facility we were in,” Lebeau said. “It wasn’t set up for a good flow for our customer base, and you need a good flow with the rental business. When we set this building up, we set it up for that.”

From skid steers to track loaders, Leppo sells, rents and maintains Bobcat equipment.

“Bobcat is about 80% of what we do in distribution,” Lebeau said.

The dealership offers businesses training on a several types of equipment, both on and off site, and Leppo built a conference and training room in its new store to promote the training aspect.

The company operates six stores across northeastern Ohio, each serving a different customer base, Lebeau said.

“A lot of our clients here are at the smaller end of the industrial side of things: small custom castings, steel processing and scrap metal, things like that. Those are some of are niches that we really do well with in this area,” Wagner said.

“Our Wooster area has a lot more [agriculture],” Lebeau said. “In Akron and Canton, you get a lot of older businesses that have been around a long time, especially industrial businesses.”

Leppo’s, a family-owned business since 1945, opened its first store in Tallmadge outside Akron and focused on agricultural equipment.

“Over the course of the last 70 years, we’ve grown with the area and adapted to industry and the area’s needs,” said Mike Leppo, Youngstown rental coordinator. “Our niche now is compact construction equipment and related industries.”
In 2013, Leppo opened a rental center in Carrollton, Razor Rents, which specializes in equipment for the oil and gas industry. The anticipated boom from the shale industry faded in 2014. In 2015, Dale Leppo, company chairman, argued for lifting the ban on U.S. exports of crude oil before the U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee.

“A certain amount of our business comes from the energy industries,” said John Stride, president of Leppo Rents.

“But just as important is the fact that the energy industry puts a lot money into the area, so that cascades throughout the local economy,” he continued. “We think we will continue to benefit from that as well as the local economy as a whole.

Pictured: John Stride, president of Leppo Rents; Dan Lebeau, vice president, Leppo Inc.; Mike Leppo, Youngstown rental coordinator.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.