FEATURED: JJ O’Connor’s comes full circle

By: Anna Game-Lopata

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Award-winning Case IH dealership JJ O’Connor’s is celebrating its 50th anniversary in business with a brand new facility in Birchip, Victoria where its journey began.

FEATURED: JJ O’Connor’s comes full circle
Second and third-generation O'Connors Mark (right) and Ryan O'Connor are currently running the fifty year old family dealership.

A remarkable Case IH dealership, the story of JJ O’Connor and Sons starts with a remarkable man.

Born in the central Victorian town of Horsham in 1926, John James O’Connor, known to everyone as JJ, grew up on the family farm at Wail with his seven brothers.

His first job was working with his life-long friend Ron McIntyre as a stock and station agent for Dalgety’s in Minyip.

In 1964, JJ and his wife Pauline purchased the International Harvester dealership at Birchip, about 100 kilometres north east of Horsham.

JJ bought the local Blacksmiths shop, and with the building of new offices and a workshop extension, converted it into a modern dealership.

Fifty years later, JJ O’Connor and Sons is still going strong. Having established six dealerships throughout the state, the business is celebrating its anniversary by opening a new purpose-built dealership in its regional home town of Birchip.

These days, JJ’s son Mark runs the business with strategic input from his brother Dennis who sits on the Board of Directors after retiring as Managing Director in 2012.

Their sons, Ryan and Brad O’Connor are the third generation to participate in the business. Ryan is Birchip Branch Manager while Brad is Parts Interpreter for the Shepparton branch.

Mark believes the family connection has been critical to the success of the JJ O’Connor and Sons dealership.

"It opened opportunities to establish relationships with customers through the generations," he says.

"This side of the business is very important to us. And it is important to our customers because we maintain consistency. They appreciate the strength and longevity of our relationship.

"O’Connors is a large business which has been able to retain a small family-run feel where our customers are all known to us."

The new state of the art Birchip facility will, in essence, retain the same bones it had as a business in 1964.

"Where it has differentiated is in the larger product line up, greater efficiency and productivity achieved throughout the business," Mark enthuses, "particularly in the service department with the introduction of precision farming and other new technologies."

Read the full story behind the JJ O’Connor’s dealership in the March issue of NewFarmMachinery Magazine, out March 24. Subscribe to the magazine to have it delivered.

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