Jim Gerber of Gerber Trailer Sales typically sells about half-dozen trailers over the course of the three-day Northwest Agricultural Show.
At last year’s show, he sold 14.
“We sold everything we had on display the first day, except one trailer,” he said.
“I think it is going to be good this year, too,” he said.
Gerber, who has been exhibiting at the ag show for five years now, said he typically doesn’t measure whether it was a success by how many trailers he sells. The show often serves as an introduction — often an introduction that eventually leads to a sale.
“A lot of time you don’t get the business right there,” he said. “It is two months later — sometimes six or eight months later — when a guy calls and says, ‘Oh, I saw you at the ag show.’”
Still, selling 14 trailers in three days made quite an impact.
“We couldn’t do anything wrong,” he said. “It made our whole January.”
Gerber, who started in tires, today owns one of the leading trailer sales companies in the Pacific Northwest, selling Bradford Built and Hillsboro trailers and truck beds at four outlets.
“I try to sell stuff that I can feel good about selling,” Gerber said. “There is cheaper stuff out there, less expensive. But I tried a couple of those, and they just didn’t work out.”
The two long-standing manufacturers have a good reputation among farmers, construction workers, utilities and others, he said. “When customers call, they either ask for Hillsboro or Bradford,” he said. “It is just that easy. They pretty much have their mind made up when they call me.”
Because of a large inventory, Gerber can serve customers in a timely fashion, which he believes helps draw customers.
“I have the inventory,” he said. “A lot of these smaller outfits, they can’t justify having 125 beds in stock. That is why people come to me.
“They buy a bed Monday and they want to put it on Tuesday, (and) usually we have it,” he said. “We miss it once in a while, but most of the time we have it.”
Gerber Trailer Sales has outlets in Monmouth at 13000 S. Pacific Highway West, in Lincoln City at 1605 Highway 101 and has affiliates in Hermiston, Ore., at 2100 S. Highway 395, and Woodland, Wash., at 434 Demarest Ave.
If one of his outlets doesn’t have a particular Bradford or Hillsboro bed or trailer in stock, he said that odds are another will.