Clinton Tractor celebrates 65 years of serving farmers and community

Published Apr 11, 2018 at 4:00pm

CLINTON — A business that prides itself in its dedication to family and community, Clinton Tractor Supply & Implement Co., 31 Meadow St., celebrates 65 years in business this year.

Co-owner John Calidonna, his brother and two sisters are the second generation of Calidonnas selling farm, construction and landscaping equipment and machinery, within about a 100-mile radius surrounding their hometown facility, with customers reaching beyond Albany and Watertown.

It was in 1953 that the original owners,
brothers Dominick, Frank and John Calidonna, responded to a newspaper advertisement seeking a farm machinery dealer to serve the agriculture industry of Clinton and the surrounding communities. At this time the brothers were representatives of Triad Tractor, a Ford farm and industrial equipment distributor in Yorkville.

The Calidonna brothers purchased the property on Meadow Street that had formerly been the village’s outdoor skating rink and built a 100-foot by 10-foot building. Business boomed and additions were made to the building in 1959, 1970, 1982, 1999, 2010 and most recently, in 2013 with the complete renovation of the indoor showroom.

Presently John Sr.’s children — John Jr., Regina, Chris, and Becky — own and operate the business on the same principles as it was built.

John Jr. said Clinton Tractor has always had an “enduring commitment to customer service,” which is the driving force behind the business. “Our tag line is, ‘Leader in service.’ Our business revolves around serving our customers, immediately,” the co-owner said.

But before the business was even founded, John said his father and uncles were farmers in the area, which garnered them great expertise and knowledge of the needs of their customers.

“They were farming and selling machinery, but then they made the decision not to milk cows anymore,” and went to selling machinery full-time, he said. “They understood what a farmer needed first-hand.”

The company has been commended for its exceptional business practices, from parts and service, to sales and management. The Calidonna family have been recognized by several of the companies they represent. Notably, Clinton Tractor & Implement Co. is one of an elite group of dealers honored with New Holland’s President’s Prestige Award annually, Ferris Industries’ New York State Dealer of the Year annually and the 2010 Club Car XRT dealer of the year.

Looking to the future, a third generation of
the Calidonna family — lead by the three oldest children, Danielle, Joe, and Greg — are taking up the family business. Their younger siblings can be seen working diligently at the shop when not in school.

“We all grew up in the store as children all the way up through and over, and the children of the third generation grew up around the store also,” John Jr. said.

He, his sisters and brother, “would help out the first generation and the family just filled that void,” through the years as the business grew and additional help was needed, he said. There are 11 grandchildren of the first generation total, six of which now work for Clinton Tractor.

The family said through its 65 years in business, the Calidonna family has had to make significant decisions to expand or mold the business to better fulfill their customers’ needs and demand in order to remain successful.

And throughout the years as the family has worked hard to maintain its reputation as being a leader in customer service, the Calidonnas also take great pride in the community where they not only operate their business, but that they call home. John Jr. said Clinton Tractor has opened its doors to community partnerships, has volunteered and given back to the Mohawk Valley in several different facets. In his office, there are photos of John Jr. running the Utica Boilermaker Roadrace. The company has also participated in the annual Ride for Missing and Exploited Children. Clinton tractor is also “great friends and partners” with the Utica Zoo, John Jr. said, with a barn built in Clinton Tractor’s name.

“We want to be co-branded as as a leader in the community,” the co-owner said. “I feel that it’s very important that we can be a trusted and recognized name.”

Clinton Tractor has also teamed up New Holland Agriculture to create it’s own Survivor’s Tractor. The restored 1940 Ford 9N model is painted purple, which is the color that symbolizes cancer awareness.

“We hooked up with the American Cancer Society and Melanie Francis out of Utica (the Utica Chapter),” John Jr. said. “We’re going to sell raffle tickets for a chance to win a Ferris mower all year, up through October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Then we’ll do the drawing. We’re donating 100 percent of the money raised” besides the mower to the winner, “to the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life.”

The Calidonnas plan to display the purple Survivor’s Tractor at parades and special events in Oneida County throughout the year, which include Relay for Life events in the surrounding area and the Honor America Days Parade in Rome. Plans are also in the works for it to make a stop at the Great New York State Fair in Syracuse. The Survivor’s Tractor already made its debut at the Utica St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

In addition to New Holland, among the name-brand equipment sold by Clinton Tractor are Bri-Mar, Bush Hog, Ferris, Bwise, Snowex and Ventrac. But along with its reputation to sell quality-brand farming equipment and construction machinery, John Jr. said he wants Clinton Tractor to be known as a business run by family who are dedicated to serving their customers and community.

“We have a third generation here, with a vested interest” in business and community, “which is our strong point,” the co-owner said. “That’s something very unique” about us, “because there’s always a family member in the store, whether it’s in parts, service, sales or in the office.”

For more information on Clinton Tractor & Implement Co. products or services, stop by or call 315-853-6151. The business is open six days a week.