Ludens, Inc.: A Lesson in Listening to the Customer
The Ludens family may depict their business, Ludens, Inc., as that of an adventure.
The multi-generational family business has enjoyed decades of fruitful growth in both the owners’ work and personal lives, but it has not always been easy to come by.
Over the years, Ludens, Inc. has evolved their product line to adapt to the changing needs of their diverse customer base.
Today, the retailer has found a particular niche in trailers and skid-steer attachments.
But the story of Ludens, Inc. — and that of the Ludens family — runs deeper than the sum of its parts. With over four decades of experience in the agriculture equipment business, one can rightly expect an area of concentrated expertise to go along with several lifetimes of stories.
Allen Ludens began his journey as a farmer.
He naturally found himself attending farm equipment auctions, where he would purchase used equipment, and resell to local farmers.
The concept was proving well for Ludens, and he officially decided to open his business full-time in 1977 on an acreage near Sioux Falls.
In 1987, the business moved to Parker, South Dakota, where it operated for over 15 years before moving to its current location near Humboldt, South Dakota in 2003.
Along the way, Ludens was joined by his two sons, Landon and Jason, to help run the operations and servicing department, respectively.
“As a family business, it’s been incredibly rewarding over the years, but it’s also a lot of commitment,” says Landon Ludens, Operations Manager at Ludens. “With us three [family members] here, the important thing is that we each have our own areas. We respect those areas and try to communicate clearly and openly.”
There’s no question that the business is running soundly with the right people in the right places.
Allen continues to thrive in acquiring used equipment, relishing the practice that launched him into the line of work to begin with.
Landon manages the business from a macro level, seeking to understand customer demands and the ever-changing business of equipment dealing. While his father attends to the used equipment, Landon also manages the inventory of all new equipment at Ludens.
And Jason, as the head of the service department, handles the servicing of trailers. On top of this maintenance work, Jason oversees the shipping and receiving end of each transaction.
Currently, Ludens, Inc. stocks around 200 brand-new trailers of all kinds. With a customer base that extends to an approximately 300-mile radius, Ludens must be prepared for a variety of needs.
“The trailer market over the past few years has changed,” explains Landon. “It used to be that customers would try to buy one trailer to meet all their needs. Now, more customers are buying multiple trailers for more specific purposes.”
As customer trends change, Ludens is prepared to meet them.
As for the customer Ludens, Inc. aims to serve — well, they range dramatically.
One shopper may be a hobbyist looking for a trailer to haul their side-by-side, and the next may be a farmer looking to haul their farm equipment.
The needs of their customers are vast.
Certainly, the agriculture industry is a top seller for Ludens, Inc. But the needs extend to those of building contractors, hobbyists, and the like.
The important fact is that Ludens, Inc. carries the hauling needs of these customers, and with a service that is second to none.
While Ludens, Inc. has seen changes in product line and family ownership over the years, it remains that the business is in good standing and of great value to its customers.
“We have really seen God’s faithfulness over the years,” expresses Landon.
“He’s always been faithful through the ups and downs of new opportunity.”
The Ludens family shows extreme gratitude towards their dedicated, long-term employees, who have played an instrumental part in the success of the business.
The winds of opportunity are always knocking, and the Ludens’ are finding those through patient listening and understanding.