Cat dealers unite: Foley Inc., of N.J. acquires Giles & Ransome of Penn.
Joy Powell | February 9, 2018

Foley, Inc., of Piscataway, New Jersey, shown above, has acquired fellow Caterpillar dealer Giles and Ransome, headquartered in Bensalem, Penn.. Many of their customers already bought from both dealerships. The dealers and Cat jointly approved the agreement.

Foley, Inc. of Piscataway, New Jersey, has bought Giles & Ransome, Inc., headquartered in Bensalem, Pennsylvania.

The acquisition brings together two Caterpillar dealers with 160 years of combined industry experience. Both dealerships and Caterpillar agreed on the transaction.

“Our vision is to create customer experiences that create customers for life, and we believe that the strategic decision to become one company will allow us to offer the best resources and knowledge to help our customers be more productive and competitive in the future,” says Foley CEO Jamie Foley.

Foley Cat’s territory now expands from northern New Jersey to the Delaware Valley, southern New Jersey and northern Delaware.

Foley will continue to operate out of its Piscataway headquarters as well from Bensalem and Whitehall, Pennsylvania; Bear, Delaware; and the town of Hammonton, New Jersey.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to combine the heritage of two storied Caterpillar dealers in order to serve a larger, combined customer base,” says Kristin Bromley Fitzgerald, former President of Ransome Cat and now executive vice president of Foley, Inc.

“This transaction reflects our joint commitment to continue to deliver exceptional Caterpillar products and services to our customers,” adds Fitzgerald, who is a member of the Foley Executive Leadership Team.

Many of their customers were already doing business with both Foley Cat and Ransome Cat, the companies say.

“This acquisition will be seamless to our customers,” says Ryan Foley, president of Foley, Inc. “What our customers should expect from Foley, Inc. is the continued best-in-class customer service, with the same familiar faces, working with them daily to help them get the job done.”

 

A milestone in the long history of Giles & Ransome

In the 1800s, Ernest L. Ransome of Ipswich, England, benefitted from his family’s long history in the iron business when he struck out on his own, immigrating to San Francisco. He went on to build the first reinforced concrete building and bridges in the United States.

In 1884, Ernest Ransome patented the use of twisted steel bars for reinforcing concrete — the first “rebar.”

A press release from Foley, Inc., best tells the story:

A few years later, he designed and built the Lake Alvord Bridge as a single steel-reinforced arch, which allowed carriages to pass over the pedestrian entrance to California’s Golden Gate Park. This was America’s first reinforced concrete bridge.

The structure survived the 1906 earthquake essentially without damage, while other, newer brick structures crumbled to the ground. It is now a national civil engineering landmark.

In the early 1900s, Ernest moved from San Francisco to New Jersey and founded the Ransome Concrete Machinery Co. His son, Percy A. Ransome Sr., joined the company.

After several years, Percy left his father’s business and on November 15, 1916, founded Giles & Ransome with Arthur Giles, using $2,500 they had borrowed.

They sold primarily concrete mixers and pavers, including those manufactured by Ransome Concrete.

In 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, Giles & Ransome made the decision to become one of the world’s first equipment dealers of the Caterpillar Tractor Co.

 

Foley, Inc. continues to evolve

Edward J. Foley Sr. was determined to hitch a ride into the future, the press release recounts.

As a foreman in a bicycle manufacturing company in Bedford, Mass., in the early 1900s, he became enamored with a new and faster, but fledgling, mode of transportation — the automobile. In 1911, he opened a Mitchell-Lewis Motor Company dealership in Newark, New Jersey.

The trouble was that Mitchell didn’t have the staying power of some of the other emerging brands of the time and Ed Sr.’s dealership went bankrupt after 10 years in business.”

In 1921, with money loaned by a friend, Ed Foley Sr. opened a Chevrolet dealership on Broad Street in Newark, New Jersey.

1957, however, brought an abrupt change in the direction of the business. A friend in the banking business called Edward Foley Jr. and told him of an opportunity to become a Caterpillar tractor dealer.

After acquiring the assets of Caterpillar dealer Smith Tractor in Union, N.J., Edward Jr. founded Foley Machinery. Soon after, he sold Foley Chevrolet.

In January 1967, Foley Machinery moved to Piscataway, N.J., to a bigger facility covering 20 acres and approximately 75,000 square feet.

Today, says CEO Jamie Foley, the company “continues to evolve and grow in order to continue to support the customers who help power and build the communities we live in.”

(Though they share the same name – Foley – the dealership of Foley, Inc. headquartered in New Jersey, has no connection to Foley Equipment, headquartered in Kansas.)

 

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