• Brillion Power Equipment Hosts Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting

    Ariens Company on Saturday hosted a grand opening and ribbon cutting at Brillion Power Equipment, celebrating the company's new concept store.

    Ariens Company Chairman & CEO Dan Ariens, Brillion Power Equipment Business Partner and Store Manager Mike Buboltz, Wisconsin State Assembly Rep. Ron Tusler, Brillion Mayor Gary Deiter and Ariens Company representatives attended the event.

    The grand opening offered several activities for attendees, including a demo area for test riding zero-turn mowers, a chain saw carver, demonstrations from STIHL, kids crafts from the Brillion Nature Center and a brat fry benefiting Brillion High School. Guests who attended also had the chance to win one of several product giveaways from Ariens, Gravely and STIHL. 

     

    In February, Ariens announced the purchase of a vacant building across the street from the company's headquarters with plans to create a fully-operational concept store that Ariens employees could use to test cutting-edge merchandising concepts.

    "The store will be used to demonstrate best-in-class dealership practices, test merchandising concepts that might be offered to our network of dealers, and learn more about overall customer experience," says Dan Ariens, Chairman and CEO of Ariens Company.​

    Ariens Company has partnered with local Ariens and Gravely dealer Mike Buboltz to manage the store as a power equipment dealership. Buboltz is the owner of Hardware Plus, located in downtown Brillion, which has sold Ariens equipment since 2011. The new dealership will be open to the public for sales of Ariens® and Gravely® brand outdoor power equipment and parts sales. Hardware Plus will continue to perform service at its downtown Brillion location.

    "We feel honored that Ariens Company chose us to manage their new concept store," says Buboltz. "This is a great opportunity for us to partner with the Ariens Company to showcase their world class equipment made right here in Brillion, Wisconsin."

    With the store's opening, a building for a long time sat vacant on one of the cities most travelled roads is alive again.

    "This was an opportunity for us to take a space that was really becoming an eye sore in our community and to turn it into something that the city can embrace," said Ariens. "We have a great corporate headquarters and a fantastic museum in Brillion, but we didn't have a dedicated space to showcase our latest and greatest innovations. This store will allow the community, our dealers and everyone else we partner with to come in and see what we're creating."

    This is not a factory direct store with discounted products and close-out pricing, according to Ariens, but instead, is an independently-operated dealership with Buboltz managing day-to-day retail activities, while product placement, point-of-sale, and marketing support will come directly from the Ariens Company marketing team.


    The store will assist the company in gathering customer feedback and retail best practices that will benefit the entire Ariens and Gravely dealer base, according to Ariens. The company has more than 1,500 dealers throughout North America who sell lawn, snow and commercial outdoor power equipment. Ariens and Gravely dealers, who make regular visits to Brillion, will have an opportunity to gain insight on the best practice concepts during visits to the store.

    The dealership will include new concepts in store point-of-sale, Ariens Company brand signage and imaging, product display and merchandising concepts for accessories, parts and equipment unique to the outdoor power equipment industry.​









    STEM ‘Exploration Station’ Opens at Brillion Elementary School

    The Brillion School District hosted the dedication of its new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education center at Brillion Elementary School. The $1.5 million 'Exploration Station' is the centerpiece of the district's nationally-recognized STEM education initiative that began at the high school level in 2005.

    The two-story, 5,000 square-foot multi-purpose area at the school has been re-built into a flexible and creative learning space where students can collaborate over hands-on projects, learn problem-solving skills, record data, and professionally present their results. Students and teachers have been using the facility since late January as they prepare for its first full year of use during the 2017-18 school year.

    "Some people might be surprised that we start STEM education in kindergarten but we have found this is the perfect age to learn STEM and start teaching problem-solving skills," says Dominick Madison, Superintendent for the Brillion School District. "Young people come into school and they are extremely creative. They haven't been told 'no.' When you challenge them with problems they come up with solutions you would never expect."


    The new facility allows for an integrated approach to learning where all subjects can be taught together so that a project might include science and math but also other subjects like English and music.

    "This new Exploration Station allows students to be active in their own education. This space has made it possible for students to work together, to move around, to use tools and to present hands-on projects," says Elementary Principal, Carrie Deiter. "We see students who were not excited about school previously begin to thrive with the way they are asked to think and learn in the STEM classes, and that is very exciting."

    The Brillion community has rallied around this integrated approach to education. Brillion voters approved $350,000 for the project in a 2014 referendum. The Ariens Foundation and the Endries Family Foundation, both of Brillion, each contributed $400,000 to initiate private fundraising, and the final $355,000 was raised through company and individual donors from Brillion and throughout Northeast Wisconsin.

    "It's a credit to what the teachers have been doing at the Brillion schools that more than 140 local businesses and individuals have contributed to this effort," says Bob Endries, retired CEO, Endries International and current owner of Professional Plating. "When the education approach comes first it's easy to support the building project. Designing and building the space is the easy part in comparison to what the educators have done to update and re-vamp their methods and curriculum."

    "I think we have only begun to see what these students are capable of accomplishing," says Dan Ariens, Chairman and CEO of Ariens Company. "I don't think it is a stretch to say that by the time these students reach the world of work, they are going to revolutionize the workplaces and the careers they choose, regardless of what field they enter."

    Instead of focusing solely on skills for a particular science or technology field, the Brillion School District's STEM program focuses on teaching innovative problem-solving skills that can be applied to any job, whether a student becomes an engineer, a nurse or a machinist, according to Madison. This approach helps prepare students for work in an environment where technology advancements will continually change job requirements.

    "Problem-solving skills like these students are learning will help us reduce the skills gap we are experiencing in this part of the state," says Ariens. "Regardless of which career students will eventually pursue, jobs in the future will require the ability to adapt to challenges and solve problems."

    The Exploration Station is the newest feature the district's model STEM education program that began at the high school level in 2005 under the direction of Steve Meyer, Technology and Engineering Teacher and STEM Coordinator. The Brillion High School STEM center, known as the Ariens Technology and Engineering Education Center, was built in 2007 and has become a national model for STEM education. Since that time, the Brillion School District has hosted hundreds of visitors – educators, administrators, businesses – from communities throughout the country who want to learn more about the Brillion approach to STEM education.

    "We know we have something special here in Brillion and we take that responsibility very seriously," says Madison. "This is a model facility where we can show others how we approach STEM in Brillion and how it can change the culture of your school and the culture of your community."


    Ariens Company to Open Concept Store in Brillion, Wis.

    ​Ariens Company announced it has begun construction on a new concept store in Brillion, Wis., located directly across the highway from its global headquarters. The company purchased the building at 658 W. Ryan Street, and the new store is expected to open in May 2017.

    “The store will be used to demonstrate best-in-class dealership practices, test merchandising concepts that might be offered to our network of dealers, and learn more about overall customer experience,” says Dan Ariens, Chairman and CEO of Ariens Company.

    Ariens Company has partnered with local dealer Mike Buboltz to manage the store as a power equipment dealership. Buboltz is the owner of Hardware Plus, located in downtown Brillion, which has sold Ariens equipment since 2011. The new dealership will be open to the public for sales of Ariens® and Gravely® brand outdoor power equipment and parts sales. Hardware Plus will continue to perform service at its downtown Brillion location.

    “We feel honored that Ariens Company chose us to manage their new concept store,” says Buboltz. “This is a great opportunity for us to partner with the Ariens Company to showcase their world class equipment made right here in Brillion, Wisconsin.”

    This will not be a factory direct store with discounted products and close-out pricing, according to Ariens. This will be an independently-operated dealership with Buboltz managing day-to-day retail activities, while product placement, point-of-sale, and marketing support will come directly from the Ariens Company marketing team.

    The store will assist the company in gathering customer feedback and retail best practices that will benefit the entire Ariens and Gravely dealer base, according to Ariens. The company has more than 1,500 dealers throughout North America who sell lawn, snow and commercial outdoor power equipment. Ariens and Gravely dealers, who make regular visits to Brillion, will have an opportunity to gain insight on the best practice concepts during visits to the store.

    The dealership will include new concepts in store point-of-sale, Ariens Company brand signage and imaging, product display and merchandising concepts for accessories, parts and equipment unique to the outdoor power equipment industry.

    Ariens Company Moves into New 600,000-Square-Foot Distribution Center

    Ariens Company has signed a lease for a 600,000-square-foot building in Kenosha, Wis., for the site of its new distribution center.

    The new Wisconsin facility is a strategically located distribution center for Ariens and consolidates operations the company had throughout the Midwest into a single larger, more modern and more efficient facility. The new Kenosha County facility is a strategic location that will help better serve dealers and customers with improved delivery.


    "Finding the right distribution center is critical to our growth strategy," said Ariens Company Chairman/CEO Dan Ariens. "Even a small improvement in delivery time is important to a customer waiting for a new machine to clear their driveway or keep their lawn under control. And this is a significant upgrade to our previous supply chain network."

    The Ariens Company wholegoods business will use the warehouse as a central hub for distribution of outdoor power equipment as well as parts and accessories. All products manufactured in Brillion and Auburn will move through the facility.

    "We are proud that Ariens selected Kenosha County for the site of its new facility," said Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser. "Companies like Ariens are what have made Wisconsin a manufacturing powerhouse and we are delighted to welcome them to our community."​​​​​

    Gravely Display Added to Ariens Company Museum in Honor of Brand’s 100th Anniversary

    ​Ariens Company has renovated its museum in Brillion, Wis. to include a new display dedicated to the Gravely®​ brand of professional outdoor power equipment, in honor of the 100th anniversary​ of the original “Gravely Motor Plow​” patent awarded in 1916. The newly renovated space includes a 3,000 sq. ft. of display area filled with refurbished vintage equipment, historical wall murals and memorabilia that provide a glimpse into the company’s 100-year history.​

    “It’s important for us to tell the story of this iconic brand and the man who had a vision for improving upon​ the laborious “horse and plow” method of tackling work on the farm at that time,” says Dan Ariens, Chairman and CEO of Ariens Company, producer of the Gravely brand of equipment. “Ben Gravely received more than 60 patents in his lifetime and we continue to honor his legacy of innovation today in the products we design for professional landscape contractors.”

    The central feature of the new display is a replica of the red-brick façade and entryway to the original Gravely factory built in 1922 in Dunbar, W.Va. (photos of both attached). ​Visitors pass through the “plant” door to view several unique items and historical wall murals of the inside of the factory in the early 1900s.​


    On display are several milestone products from the c​​​​​ompany’s history including a working replica of Ben Gravely’s original “Motor Plow” built by local metal artist, Paul Kaufmann of Manitowoc, Wis. (photo attached)

    “We searched but we could not locate an original motor plow,” says Mel Edinger, Museum Curator Extraordinaire, who works with other members of the museum team to track down and purchase vintage equipment. “We were able to get the blueprint from the U.S. Patent Office, and Paul used the print to create a working model.”

    The Gravely Motor Plow quickly gave way to what would become the brand’s signature product for many years, the Gravely Two-Wheel Tractor. Commercial farmers and home gardeners could purchase a number of attachments for the tractor to meet their specific needs, making two-wheel tractor one of the most versatile and compact machines in the history of outdoor power equipment. Over the course of many years, more than 40 attachments were offered for the tractor, including tillers, cultivators, sickle mowers, reel mowers, snowthrowers, chainsaws, brushes, roofing scrapers, post hole diggers, and dozer blades.

    Other Gravely products on display in the museum include:

    • Several models of the Gravely two-wheel tractor (1937-2004) and the many attachments that fit the machine.
    • Gravely Clean Cut mower (1960); the first attempt at a Gravely riding mower.
    • Gravely Westchester mower (1964); an out-front mower produced as part of Studebaker Packard Corp.
    • GMT 9000 tractor (1977); the first Gravely commercial four-wheel tractor for grounds maintenance.


    Ariens Company acquired the company in 1982. Prior to the acquisition, the ownership of the Gravely brand changed hands several times over its history. Studebaker Packard Corp., McGraw Edison, and Cooper Industries, all managed the Gravely brand at one time.

    The Ariens Company Museum opened in 2003 and is staffed by Ariens Company retirees who organize displays, refurbish vintage equipment and serve as tour guides. The Museum, including the new Gravely display, is open to the public upon request. Visit www.ariensco.com for more information, or to schedule a visit.


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