Our happy and satisfied customers speak!
Eric's Ventrac Story
When I bought my 4.5 acres of Hudson riverfront property back in 1997, I was concerned about the uphill battle of mowing 3-4 acres of lawn, as well as having to blow out 250 feet of driveway, all with steep terrain. I passed a dealer in Rondout Valley, NY who had a Steiner 430 tractor out in front. I knew immediately this was the only tractor for my property. The dealer, Tony Kawalchuck Sr., was truly so enthused about his product that his passion was infectious, and I soon became as passionate about my tractor's performance as he was.
I initially bought the Steiner 21.5HP diesel and several attachments including a 60-inch mower deck, a 48" snow blower, a slip-scoop, and the leaf blower. Over the next few years, I added a 10,000KW generator and a stump grinder. My property was transformed into our own backyard garden of Eden. Tony K had given me great support over the years along with his son Tony Jr.. and when I one day noticed a shiny new tractor in their shop, I became aware of the Ventrac line.
This new Ventrac tractor seemed to rectify a number of shortcomings that the Steiner had, most notably for me, a rollover bar and increased horsepower that could help tame my steep terrain. However, these are not low-end tractors or garden toys one would expect to find at a typical big box store, and I just wasn't prepared to lay out the money for a new tractor when my existing one met 90 percent of my needs. Then, unexpectedly, my diesel tractor threw a rod due to a rollover mishap that had happened a few years earlier, and I was faced with the dilemma of having to replace a relatively new tractor, also knowing that I had a huge investment in attachments. Tony Kawalchuck came to the rescue by making me a great trade-in offer on my broken Steiner, and I happily went home with my new Ventrac 4231. There were several key issues that made me buy the Ventrac. First of all, I knew I had one of the best dealers (and friends) in Tony K, and that was a huge factor in my decision. Second, the roll-bar on the Ventrac would help protect me on my varied terrain and unexpected lapses in judgment. Next, my diesel was sometimes hard starting in the winter unless I used the block heater. However, when the electric power was out because of winter storms, pre-heating wasn't an option and I couldn't get my Steiner going to run my generator. That was a big factor in my decision to go with the 31HP Ventrac gas model.
Then, of course, I knew I would be able to leverage all of my investment in my Steiner attachments that fit perfectly on the Ventrac with some slight adjustments in belt sizes. I was so thrilled with the increase in power and handling ability of my new Ventrac, I quickly replaced the 60" Steiner mowing deck with the 72" Ventrac deck. I love the flip-up feature of that deck for routine spindle greasing and blade sharpening.
I also purchased the 48" Ventrac Tiller and I am continually amazed at its ability to take the roughest ground and turn it into pure fluffy soil that is the easiest to plant and maintain. I have added the extra spotlight light bar and emergency beacon to the top of the roll-bar for when I venture up onto the roads in winter to blow out the driveway, and some added features of my own like a cool stereo system and headphone jacks to make the mowing a little more enjoyable.
I'm just starting to train my 11-year old son in safe use of the Ventrac and he loves doing tractor work for me now all the time. I love my Ventrac, as it cut my mowing time in half versus the old Steiner. This machine is built with incredible toughness, and with the right maintenance, performs just like the day I brought it home new.
The best factor throughout all of my ownership period is clearly the dealer support from Tony Kawalchuck Sr., his wife Cathy, and their son Tony Jr. They always do their best to help keep minor unexpected repair, use-oriented wear-out costs and maintenance as low as possible, and they are always there for advice. That's a quality factor you can't manufacture, but says a lot about who the Ventrac folks allow to represent their product, and their process in determining that. No surprise there. I'm always excited to visit the Ventrac website and see what new attachments they have dreamed up.
The support from the manufacturer's staff has also been outstanding, in my opinion. They are always timely with responses, and generous in consideration of issues that may not have been my fault entirely. The entire Ventrac team should be commended for the highest level of possible customer service and support.
On my wish list is replacing my Steiner snow blower with a Ventrac model, possibly a winter cab, and maybe the leaf blower as well. The kids want me to figure out how to turn the Ventrac into a sled lift for winter runs out in the backyard. I told them to wait a little and the Ventrac folks will come out with the Ventrac ski lift attachment. Hopefully, I just planted a seed. ;-)
Why Eric is a Ventrac Fan
I have always been an ambassador and sales guy for the Ventrac tractor since day one. No one is more impressed with the quality of construction, ease of use, safety, and consistency of support. It makes the toughest jobs so easy that I always blow out my neighbor's yards in the winter and save them lots of money. I till vegetable gardens for friends and helped transform one of my neighbors' spare land into a fertile planting area, where he now runs a CSA called Stonegate Farms. He would love to buy a Ventrac, but knows until that time, I'm always there to help him out. I got the Ventrac fever 5 years ago from Tony Kawalchuck and he's right, it was one of the best investments I've ever made.