Brookville, Ohio-based Ritter Company grew and diversified its business utilizing Vermeer products, service and support. Gaining experience with trenchers and horizontal directional drills (HDDs) in the underground utility sector, a strong relationship with Vermeer helped Ritter pivot and add grinding services to its portfolio.
For 70 years, Ritter Company specialized in the repair and replacement of underground water and natural gas utilities. John Ritter, the current owner, joined the company upon graduation in 1978. Beginning in the late 1980s, the company expanded its business into electric and gas installation work for the local utility company.
Ritter Company purchased its first Vermeer trencher in 1990, which marked the beginning of its relationship with Vermeer. Ritter’s older brother Phil took note of emerging HDD technology while attending The Utility Expo. This led to the company’s purchase of a Vermeer D24 Navigator® HDD in 1994. Since then, the company has purchased ten Vermeer HDD units, which played a critical role in the company’s continued expansion.
“Vermeer has been very instrumental in helping get our company where it is at today. We bought Vermeer products because of the service and dependability.” — John Ritter, owner, Ritter Company.
MORE solutions for sourcing materials
Ritter Company expanded into the materials business to solve a dry topsoil sourcing issue. Ritter purchased a farm adjacent to his business location to store topsoil stripped by local excavating companies. In 2017, the company purchased a Vermeer TR5300 trommel screen to handle the material.
The materials business expanded again when fate struck on Memorial Day in 2019. An EF3 tornado tore through Brookville, leaving the city with 10,000 yd3 (7,645 m3) of tree debris in need of processing.
“It was pretty devastating,” said Ritter. “It was on the ground for about 18 miles. The city of Brookville called and needed someplace to take a bunch of tree debris. I thought this was a great opportunity for us as a company and as citizens.”
Ritter Company stepped up to the challenge, initially renting a grinder to produce a rough end product that was piled up. That winter, the company decided to make some mulch, which created a new revenue stream. This led the company to purchase a Vermeer HG4000 horizontal grinder, which helped further transition the company from a drilling business into a material supplier that offers sand, gravel, mulch and topsoil.
Ritter Company now provides a place for companies to dump debris from right-of-way clearing and land clearing. The HG4000 horizontal grinder allows Ritter Company to get MORE done — upward of 70 yd3 to 80 yd3 (53.5 m3 to 61.2 m3) an hour, according to Ritter.
“When we decided to get a grinder and topsoil screen, we decided Vermeer was the way to go. In order to continue to do what we do and to be efficient for the customer we need dependable equipment. Vermeer has offered quality and dependability. That is why Ritter has always used Vermeer,” said Wendyl Baker, manager, Ritter Materials.
Reliable equipment brings in MORE customers
Today, the company is 90% focused on drilling and 10% focused on grinding, and its customer base continues to grow through diversified product offerings. To retain this business, Ritter Company needs to meet expectations.
“There are always customers coming in and as this is growing over here, the customer base is starting to pick up and we just need reliable equipment to meet their needs. That’s why we depend on Vermeer,” said Baker. “I have worked around their product for 22 years and I cannot recall ever having a bad experience with the dependability, the durability. It has been a very good product.”
Baker adds that local dealer Vermeer Heartland has been a part of Ritter through the years. The service provided by Vermeer Heartland helps Ritter meet growing demand for its products.
Ritter Company has built a successful business by providing quality services and relying on dependable equipment — like Vermeer HDD units, the TR5300 trommel screen and the HG4000 horizontal grinder — to get MORE done efficiently and effectively.
“With Vermeer it is a lot more. The MORE we give it, the MORE it can handle and that’s what it is all about,” said Ritter.
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