Two Berks County industrial equipment dealers, owned by the same company, will join forces and move together this fall into a new 68,000-square-foot building along Route 61 near Leesport in Ontelaunee Township.
Reading Tractor & Equipment of Leesport and Lift Inc. of Bernville are expected to relocate in September, once construction wraps on the large facility being built just a block from Reading Tractor & Equipment’s existing Cherry Street digs.
“Lift Inc. acquired us in June 2012, and we are making a new home for their Crown and Toyota forklifts and our Kubota and Bobcat equipment,” said sales manager Gabe Tulli at Reading Tractor & Equipment, acknowledging that thousands of vehicles a day pass by the Pottsville Pike site.
Lift Inc. also is looking to sell or lease land near the new home for commercial development.
According to Kirk Sears, co-owner vice president of Lift Inc., based in Mountville (Lancaster County), the privately held company bought Reading Kubota and renamed it Reading Tractor & Equipment with the purpose of expanding Lift Inc.’s construction equipment line.
Lift Inc. hired Speedwell Construction Inc., a Lancaster County commercial construction company, as general contractor. Construction began last fall for the multimillion-dollar building that will consolidate the two businesses.
“The building will have two faces, one for Reading Tractor and the other one for Lift Inc.,” Sears said. “But the businesses will share certain common areas, like lunch rooms, training and conference rooms, shop areas, loading space and pressure washing bays.”
Lift Inc.’s portion of the building will serve as a material handling and distribution center for its lift trucks, aerial lift equipment and scissor and boom lift rentals. In addition, there will be a sales and service center for brands that include Crown, Toyota, JLG and Genie.
The other section will be for Reading Tractor’s Bobcat and Kubota products, CAM Superline Trailers, Exmark commercial mowers, Honda power equipment and Stihl power tools.
Sears said that when Lift Inc. acquired Reading Kubota, it also bought 14 acres of property on Route 61 in Leesport and plans to sell or lease the additional acreage for commercial use. LMS Commercial Real Estate of Lancaster is marketing the land.
The LMS website lists 4.3 acres of land on Pottsville Pike, Ontelaunee Township, where Lift Inc. is building the new facility. The pad site is listed for $1.2 million and is being marketed for retail or office space with public water and sewer.
Lift Inc. is owned by Sears and Don Herman. The business has been in operation since 1973, and Sears has been an owner the last 12 years. It has other full-service regional offices in Manheim, Mechanicsburg, Williamsport and Ephrata.
“Both the Bernville facility for Lift and Reading Tractor & Equipment’s current building will close with the opening of this new facility,” Sears said. “This will not necessarily create new jobs in the area, but it will make our business run more efficiently.”
By JENNIFER TROXELL WOODWARD
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