With the help of McCloskey International, Fox took over the dealership in the spring of 2016 and a few months later asked Fleming, his good friend and former coworker, to come aboard as a partner.
Fleming, who had completely left the equipment distributor industry a few years earlier, was happy to oblige.
“I totally didn’t plan it or see it coming, but I recognized it as a great opportunity,” he recalls. “I’m very happy we made the move, and I’m very happy that Brendan and I are working toward something special here. It’s been a good first year.”
Rock and Recycling currently offers a full line of McCloskey products for the crushing, screening and recycling industries in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine, but Fox and Fleming plan to expand that territory in the near future.
Helping them to do so is Mike Lanchanski, another longtime friend and former coworker, who joined them as a sales consultant.
“Our number one priority is we want to be the best full-service McCloskey dealership in the country and then go from there,” says Fleming.
The business partners believe customer service is key to accomplishing that goal.
“It sounds cliché, but we really want to excel at customer service,” Fleming says. “We go above and beyond what customers expect. McCloskey has that mentality as a manufacturer and we’re trying to echo that down here in the Northeast. Brendan and I want to grow this place. Honestly, I think that’s the best way to do it, just through good customer service, going above and beyond… I feel that if we do that, we’ll get a good foundation, and other opportunities will present themselves.”
Fleming gives Fox huge kudos for leading the way toward excellent customer service.
“Brendan has about 30 years of industry experience. He is just an extremely knowledgeable guy who really makes the business go. He’s excellent with the customers, demonstrating and setting up the machines. He’s really critical when it comes down to applications, actually setting up the equipment. Customers really appreciate his knowledge and thoroughness. Having him out on site is just invaluable.”
While Rock and Recycling is mainly focused on new equipment sales, Fleming says that, as with other equipment distributors, rentals are a big part of the business. They do, however, look at it more as a paid demo, or rent-to-own, situation.
“Renters get their feet wet working with the equipment and working with us,” Fleming says. “It’s a way for them to feel us out and for us to get our equipment out there. The rentals have become a big part of our business, but they’re really aimed more toward the end result of selling our equipment. That’s not to say we won’t do straight rentals. We will, but it’s somewhat more strategic.”
Also like their peers in the industry, Fox and Fleming have been impacted by the lack of skilled technicians.
“That was my biggest struggle – where do we find good technicians?” Fleming said. “We only had one employee at the end of last year, so right away we needed a ‘trained service technician.’ Well, good luck! That took me the first three or four months of this year.”
Another challenge facing the fledgling dealership has been the ups and downs of the economy.
“Right now it seems to be going and chugging along in a good direction, but nobody ever knows,” Fleming said. “Everybody is waiting for the rug to be pulled out. The most recent crash in the late 2000s – that’s still very fresh in everybody’s minds.
“Everybody knows somebody who, if they didn’t go out of business, they were just about brought to their knees.”
It’s a fine line between having enough equipment on hand to grow and not getting caught with too much inventory should the economy coming crashing down again.
Fleming and Fox hope to safely walk that fine line using knowledge they garner from their fellow AED members.
“As a new dealership, we’re very happy with our sales group and how everything is going up; but at the same time we don’t have a lot of history of where we need to be, so my biggest concern – and that’s where I want to get involved in AED – is to try to get a good gauge,” Fleming says. “I don’t think anyone can predict the future, but you just lean on other people who have been doing it longer.”
To learn more, about Rock and Recycling, call their toll free number at 866-622-333 or visit them at