Labor of love: Bud and Maryann Smith celebrate 35 years of S&S Equipment

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S&S Equipment
(From left to right) Maryann and Bud Smith sit behind the counter at S&S Equipment on May 21, 2024. (Liz Partsch photo)

CARROLLTON, Ohio — Along the intersection of Steubenville Road and State Route 9 sits rows of new, old and refurbished tractors — a key indicator that customers have come to the right store for all their tractor and farming needs: S&S Equipment, 3144 Steubenville Rd SE, Carrollton, Ohio.

Bud Smith opened S&S Equipment in the late 1980s and has run the store with help from his wife, Maryann Smith, since the 90s. Over the years, a steady stream of customers have come in and out of the store, satisfied with new or repaired equipment.

Many of these loyal customers gather for S&S Equipments’ annual customer appreciation party at the end of every August. This summer, the party will be even more special as S&S Equipment celebrates 35 years of service.

From farm to store

Bud grew up on a dairy farm in Carrollton, Ohio, milking cows and selling used farm equipment alongside his father. His love of repairing and selling equipment inspired Bud to open S&S Equipment in the spring of 1989.

A few years later, in 1991, Bud and Maryann got married. Maryann’s brother and Bud went to school together, but Maryann and Bud wouldn’t meet until years later at a square dance, resulting in a dance they’d vow to sway to for the rest of their lives.

“When she married me, she married the business,” Bud said. Maryann laughs and quickly jokes back, “They said they make money,” referring to small businesses.

Incidentally, the couple put roots down near the business, building a house on the 40 acres right behind it. They lived in a trailer for a few years while it was being built, and moved in when it was completed in 1996.

Shortly after, Maryann started her own business, Golden Acres, in 2005. Golden Acres specializes in breeding and raising Golden Retrievers. In addition to running their businesses, Bud and Maryann grow hay, which they’ve been doing since 1989.

S&S Equipment
(From left to right) Bud and Maryann Smith sit on a Mahindra tractor in front of S&S Equipment on May 21, 2024. (Liz Partsch photo)

35 years of S&S Equipment

Since the beginning, S&S Equipment has repaired and sold new and used tractors. Over time, the store has expanded its inventory to include Mahindra, Bush Hog, Vermeer, Iron Craft and Tar River tractors.

The store also sells a host of tractor parts and farm equipment, and offers tractor repair services via appointment.

For the last five years, Hunter Loy has been the face of S&S Equipment’s service and repair department, fixing any broken equipment that comes into the shop. Working at the store has taught him lots of new tricks to repair old and damaged tractors.

While Loy handles operations behind the scenes, Shelby Baker tends to customers in the front of the store as its sales associate and secretary. Although she grew up on a small hobby horse farm, she didn’t know much about farm equipment until working at S&S Equipment. Her six years with the store have taught her a lot and elevated her experience as a woman in agriculture.

“It’s been a big learning curve learning the equipment because I never did any of that stuff,” Baker said. “(Being) a woman in ag can always be a fun challenge with people because they’re like ‘You don’t know anything.’ And usually, you have to prove yourself to them. That’s helped me grow as a person too.”

Giving back

S&S Equipment has taken part in numerous charitable events over the years. In 2019, Maryann and Bud, alongside a group of residents in Carrollton, created the Pulling for a Cause, a truck and tractor pull event to raise funds for the Akron Children’s Hospital.

The couple came up with the idea after Bud ran into a friend at the grocery store who had a pulling truck and wanted to put on a truck and tractor pull similar to other towns. Maryann suggested turning it into a charitable event for Akron Children’s Hospital.

To raise funds for the tractor pull, Maryann and Natalie Winters travel to businesses across Carroll and surrounding counties, politely asking people to donate.

Last year, the Pulling for a Cause event raised $67,000 for Akron Children’s Hospital. Since the event started, it has raised a total of $200,000.

“Each year it just keeps growing and growing,” Maryann said.

Anyone with a truck or tractor can participate in the pull. The top 12 in each of the eight classes of the pull receive cash prizes. This year, the Pulling for a Cause event took place on June 1 at the Carroll County Fairgrounds.

Bud and MaryAnn also host charitable events at S&S Equipment. Last year, the couple raffled off a pink Bush Hog cutter that Bud initially bought to support the American Breast Cancer Society.

In October 2023, Bush Hog auctioned off 50 limited edition pink Bush Hogs for breast cancer awareness month. All proceeds from the pink Bush Hogs were then donated to the American Breast Cancer Society.

After winning Bush Hog No.18, Bud decided to re-auction his Bush Hog at the store to raise even more money. He was inspired by his mother who passed away from breast cancer a few years ago. In the end, the couple presented a check for $19,497 to the American Breast Cancer Society.

Reflecting back on the last 35 years, Bud and Maryann are grateful for their loyal customers. They don’t have any kids to pass the business on to and someday will retire, but, for now, they’ll stay open and continue to raise money for charity as long as they can.

“We enjoy doing this stuff. It’s (about) the people you meet, and the stories they can tell somehow or another relate to you,” Maryann said. “From the Akron Children’s Hospital, whether it be the burn unit, the children, whatever it could possibly be, there’s amazing stories out there you can hear about.”

(Liz Partsch can be reached at epartsch@farmanddairy.com or 330-337-3419.)

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