- Associated Press - Monday, November 28, 2016

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) - Northeast Arkansas is home to one of the largest distributors of agricultural aftermarket parts in North America. Soon it will be even bigger.

The Jonesboro Sun (https://bit.ly/2ght1DX ) reports SMA of Jonesboro entered into an agreement last week to acquire certain assets of Blount International’s TISCO aftermarket parts business. The sale is expected to be finalized in late December.

For the Hurt family of Jonesboro, it’s a big deal.

It solidifies SMA as the second largest distributor in the country after a subsidiary of John Deere, said Blant Hurt, chief marketing officer and co-owner.

Few people are aware of the company because its customers are retail stores, President Rodger Hurt said.

“Our customers are farm stores, implement dealers, repair shops, really throughout North America,” Rodger Hurt said. The company has four distribution facilities around the country. In addition to a warehouse in Jonesboro, the company has facilities in Corsicana, Texas, Des Moines, Iowa, and Fresno, California. It will add two more with the addition of TISCO, he said.

Founded in 1964 by Bill Hurt Sr. and son Bill Hurt Jr., SMA supplies more than 15,000 agricultural parts and accessories. TISCO offers about 16,000 ag parts.

The TISCO brand can be found in such places as Tractor Supply and other stores around the country.

“Our acquisition of TISCO will allow us to improve service to our customers in many ways,” Rodger Hurt said. “In particular, service will be enhanced through expanded distribution, more intensive field representation, and of course, added breadth to our product offering. It’s a good fit. TISCO has deep roots as a focused, family run business, as do we.”

TISCO was founded in 1937 by the Calmenson family of Minnesota. At one time, it was the No. 1 name in farm parts.

The family sold the company in 1999. It changed hands multiple times in the years since then, the Hurts said. It became part of Blount International only a few months ago when a private equity company bought it. Blant Hurt said a representative of another private equity firm was talking to his family about possibly buying SMA. That rep happened to mention TISCO was for sale.

Instead of selling, the Hurts decided they wanted to buy.

While TISCO had long been a big deal in its field, as part of the larger company, the brand had begun to suffer, the Hurts said.

“It was getting lost in the shuffle,” Rodger Hurt said of TISCO. “It didn’t really make sense to their big picture, what they were trying to do with Blount International, and so, for that reason, they decided to sell it.”

SMA employs 100 people, including 65 in Jonesboro. While it won’t happen immediately, the Hurts said acquisition of TISCO will eventually create 15 to 20 more jobs here.

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Information from: The Jonesboro Sun, https://www.jonesborosun.com

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