Briggs & Stratton New to Holdrege

21 Oct 2014

The sale of Allmand Bros., one of Phelps County’s largest manufacturers and employers, has been completed.

Yet, the sign outside the company still says Allmand Bros., the same Allmand family members and managers are still operating the company, and the employees are much the same.

The difference is that a door has been opened to new customers, a network of 6,400 employees is now available to assist with new technologies and ideas, and a greater potential for future growth is now on the horizon thanks to Allmand Bros. joining the Briggs & Stratton Corporation.

Roger Allmand, former chairman of the board for Allmand Bros., said deciding the sell the 76-year family-owned company took a lot of prayer and consideration.

With calls from companies wanting to purchase Allmand Bros. almost weekly, the family decided that the only way they would ever consider that option would be if it would benefit all of the company’s stakeholders.

“If we are better able to serve our customers, employees, vendors, owners and our community, we probably should consider that,” Roger said. “And, that’s what it boiled down to us as a family.”

Roger said they did not get that feeling from many companies prior to Briggs & Stratton.

“Briggs brings a lot more financial horsepower and a lot more business expertise at a higher level than we operate. They are much bigger than us,” he said.

He also liked the idea that Briggs would build upon the Allmand brand and not just add the Allmand products to an existing line.

“The thing that really attracted us to the idea that Briggs and Stratton brought was they liked our brand, they liked our reputation and they wanted to build upon this company,” Roger said. “They wanted to use this company as a platform to enter some industries that they currently weren’t in. And, that sounded like fun.”

Briggs and Stratton Corporation is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisc., and is the world’s largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment.

Ed Bednar, vice president of business integration for Briggs and Stratton, said the company was looking to expand into new areas. Allmand Bros. is a leading designer and manufacturer of towable light towers, industrial heaters and solar LED arrow board used in a variety of industries, including construction, roadways, oil and gas, mining and sporting and special events.

“We narrowed on Allmand because of the strong customer preference, great reputation in the field, the strength, durability and reliability of the products and the fact that the family was really the face of the company,” Ed said. “We thought that was very important because it really set the expectations in the market that they are going to deliver.”

Ed said the sale gives Allmand Bros. opportunities to sell current products where they weren’t before and opportunities to “put our heads together and figure out what new products we need to sell as well.”

 “Combining the efforts of our global presence with the products expertise of the Allmand team, we think we can increase the sales of the product,” Ed said.

Roger said having an extra 17 acres available next to the plant for future growth was a big factor in the sale, too.

“PCDC was a big part of that, by making that available.” Roger said. “They (Briggs and Stratton) liked that we weren’t landlocked, that we had opportunity to grow.”

Ed agreed that the extra acres were a selling point.

“As we look at either expanding the volume of current products or bringing new products in, making sure that we could deliver on those promises for the customer and having land available for an expansion was a good, attractive thing for us,” he said.

Brad Allmand, former CEO of Allmand Bros., said current customers have been supportive of the change realizing that there’s always risk involved in any business decision.

“But in our current world environment, there was risk in the Allmand family holding onto it as well,” he said.

Briggs and Stratton has already started remodeling one area of the plant to make room for employee training and meetings, and more expansions may be on the way.

“I suspect maybe in the next month, they will start a pretty significant internal addition to the plant here, so they are investing money in the plant,” Roger said. “They have very ambitious plans for what they want to do with the company.”