THE WOOD FAMILY OWNS AND OPERATES JBT POWER
IN DAPHNE AND SEMMES, EMPLOYING 25
Gregg Wood, a former Marine and Army helicopter pilot, left a corporate chief operating officer position in 2011 to be his own boss.
“I’d been the No. 2 guy for so many companies – VP of operations, COO – I decided I wanted to do something on my own,” said Gregg. Plus, he had missed out on much of his two oldest children’s childhood activities. “I hardly got go to school plays and sports events.”
He bought the assets of JB Thomas Inc., a two-employee lawnmower shop on Baldwin County 64 in Daphne, without any experience in small-engine sales. “I like mowing grass. I like being outside. I like equipment,” Gregg said about his motivation for starting JBT Power.
In 2015, JBT Power moved to its current location at 1204 U.S. 98 in Daphne, which previously was a trailer dealership. At that point, JBT Power began selling and renting utility trailers. Two years later, the business added tractors to its inventory.
In 13 years, JBT Power has grown from a two-person lawnmower shop to a 25-employee outdoor power equipment, utility trailer and tractor dealer with locations in Baldwin and Mobile counties. The entire Wood family plays a role in the business.
Gregg is owner and president. Paula, Gregg’s wife of 25 years, works part time as an administrative assistant; and his youngest daughter, Megan, a junior at Auburn University, has worked summers and holidays since she was 14.
Gregg’s son, Ben, left a position in distribution sales to join the family business in 2021.
“He had always talked about wanting to open a second location and I had always joked with him saying, ‘Well, when you’re ready, just give me a call,’ and he called,” said Ben, who serves as the company’s sales manager and manages the Daphne location.
Significant sales in Mobile and Washington counties as well as east Mississippi prompted JBT Power to open its second location in May of 2022 on five acres in Semmes, northwest of Mobile. Gregg manages the new store and “does all of the numbers” for the business, said Ben.
Spring busy for tractor business
Our Daphne customers are “hunting camps and gentleman farmers” mostly, said Ben. “We’re selling that 25- to 50-horsepower tractor predominantly. Over in Semmes is more 40- to 100-horsepower for bigger properties.”
Gregg adds, “Dollar wise, we sell more tractors and unit wise, more lawnmowers. The tractor market continues to grow for us. Baldwin and Mobile counties are a couple of the bigger tractor markets in the state.”
Right now, the business is coming out of its slow period – “Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day,” said Gregg.
Spring is busy season at JBT Power. “When we get that first week of good weather, watch out. It gets crazy,” said Gregg. “We are very weather dependent.”
Besides “good frontage” on the main artery through Daphne, Gregg attributes “being active in the community as one of the reasons for our success.”
“They donate their time, their location and their manpower,” to the community, said Casey Williams, president and CEO of the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce. Gregg serves on the chamber board and Ben on its Young Professionals Board. The business sponsors the chamber’s Jubilee Festival of Arts in Daphne each year and holds events at the store, such as a Taco & Tractor Ladies Night and a cornhole tournament. On Feb. 1, the chamber named JPT Power as its 2023 Small Business of the Year.
One of the tractor lines JBT Power sells is Kioti, pronounced “Coyote.” JBT Power created a company mascot named “JB Kioti.” Each week during the fall football season, the business sponsors the high school “Band of the Week” on local television, featuring the mascot with area high school bands.
“I don’t think there’s any other outdoor power equipment/tractor dealers who are as engaged with the community as much as we are,” said Ben.
“We are lucky to have a dedicated team at JBT Power as well as great customers,” adds Gregg.
MEMBER SINCE 2022
JBT Power has two locations at 1204 U.S. Highway 98 in Daphne (pictured) and 9597 Moffett Road in Semmes. Visit jbtpower.com for hours of operation.
Story and photos by Nancy King Dennis
This article also appears on Pages 8 and 9
of the February 2024 Alabama Retailer
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Originally posted Feb. 9, 2024