Fifty years ago, Bill Chandler borrowed $1,000 from the bank to open up a farming equipment business. He was a teacher in North Hall, but his income wasn’t paying the bills.
“I was trying to earn a living and I always wanted to be in some kind of business,” Chandler said.
What started off with three people and $9,000 in profits the first year, transformed to a 90-staff team and making $16-17 million per year.
His company, Chandler Equipment Company, manufactures its products at 1111 E Ridge Road in Gainesville, and has a customer base in every state, Canada, Japan and Australia.
Chandler said he owes the success of his business to his wife, employees and the consistency of the farming industry.
Like every business, he has hit some highs and lows, but for the most part, Chandler said “the farm business stayed strong.”
Even the Great Recession didn’t put a dent in his progress.
“When the economy would be down, farming would be staying where it was, even in the toughest times,” Chandler said.
Most of the negative effects he experiences are from natural causes like flooded farms.
When Chandler opened his business in 1969, he decided to leave his teaching job, then returned to working for Hall County Schools as a vocational supervisor four years later.
He worked full-time as a business owner and as a school employee, then retired from the system after 30 years of service.
Chandler started his farming equipment company with a co-owner. However, his partner left after around five years to pursue other business ventures.
Chandler said his wife, Linda, “kept things straight” while he juggled his two careers. When asked why he kept two full-time jobs, he said that he “wanted both.”
“So, I wound up doing both,” Chandler, who is now 78 said. “I didn’t have a hobby. Now I don’t have anywhere to go to do something else.”
While earning his degree at the University of Georgia, Chandler gained experience working in the poultry industry and with machinery.
He said his draftsman experience came in handy when developing farming equipment to manufacture and sell. Chandler works alongside his sons Barry and Brannon, and his grandson, Jackson at the business.
The first piece of equipment the company manufactured was the Beak-O-Vac, which debeaked and vaccinated chicks.
Today Chandler Equipment Company sells a range of farming machinery, including spreaders for fertilizer, litter and gravel. All of the products are made in Gainesville by the company’s staff.
Chandler said after 50 years, they “still do it the same way.”
“The reason being is that we custom fabricate so much of our stuff and you can’t do that with robotics,” he said. “We design them for what the customer wants.”
To honor Chandler Equipment Company’s 50th year anniversary, Sen. Butch MIller, R-Gainesville; Sen. John Wilkinson, R-Toccoa; Sen. Frank Ginn, R-Danielsville; and Sen. Renee S Unterman, R-Buford adopted a congratulatory resolution on March 6, 2019.
On Thursday, July 25, the Hall County Board of Commissioners also decided to recognize the company’s 50 years of manufacturing by adopting a proclamation.
Fore more information about Chandler Equipment Company, visit chanderequipment.net or call 770-536-8891.