In a recent article, we discussed BBI’s commitment to in-the-field, customer-centric innovation through our dealer network. A great example of a dealer that’s committed to helping BBI with this innovation is the real star of that article, Rainbow Ag, a partner with three northern California locations in Ukiah, Lakeport, and Calistoga.
BBI Spreader News recently sat down with Jim Mayfield, the man who bought a small irrigation company and turned it into a multi-faceted provider of equipment and supplies for northern California’s farms, orchards, and vineyards.
BBI Spreader News: “Good morning, Jim, and thanks so much for taking a moment to talk to us. Can you tell us a little about your dealership in terms of staffing, locations, and the types of products that make up your full range.”
Jim Mayfield: “Sure. Rainbow Ag was started in December of 1983 when I bought it from a small irrigation company called Rainbow Irrigation. In fact, before Rainbow Irrigation it was an agricultural and industrial supplier called Holz Company, which was started in the 1930s. It was apparently the place to go for John Deere or Cat equipment. Therefore, in one form or another, we’ve been serving customers in this area for over 80 years, and we don’t plan to stop any time soon.
Since we’ve started, the company has grown from seven employees to over 50. We have three locations and offer a full range of ag equipment and supplies, pet food and products, name-brand work clothing, and specialty vineyard equipment.”
BBI Spreader News: “What markets do you serve specifically?”
Jim Mayfield: “We call it the North Coast wine country. It’s north of San Francisco in premium wine country, which includes Napa Valley. Our market is highly-specialized. We serve wine grape growers versus table growers in this monoculture of premium wine grape production.”
BBI Spreader News: “How did you get connected to BBI?”
Jim Mayfield: “We’ve been working with BBI for at least five years now. We found out about them as we were looking for something for our grape growers to spread fertilizer and pumice, which is a by-product left over after the grape-crushing process.”
BBI Spreader News: What are some of the unique challenges of your market?
Jim Mayfield: “When dealing with the grape growing industry, you have a lot of narrow issues we have to get through. The industry is getting narrower and narrower, and BBI’s ability to customize has made them stand out from their competitors. In addition, they’ve been very helpful with helping us solve our freight issues. It’s not easy shipping large equipment out to the West Coast, but they make it feasible. There are manufacturers closer, but BBI has been a great supplier in terms of value, flexibility and quality.”
BBI Spreader News: “What’s your best-selling equipment?
Jim Mayfield: “We only sell the Cricket since we have one agricultural crop here. It’s a very valuable, very intensely-farmed crop. One acre of ground in Napa could be worth a couple of hundred thousand dollars. That’s why we cater so heavily to our grape growers’ needs.”
BBI Spreader News: “Why do you trust your business to BBI products?”
Jim Mayfield: “Really, it starts with the price. They had a great, well-priced unit in our market. What stands out about them is that they don’t present themselves like, ‘Here’s what we sell.’ Instead, they say,”Here’s what we sell, and we’d be happy to modify it for your specialized application.’ It has turned into a great long-term relationship.”