Based in Bloomington, Minnesota, The Toro Company is an American manufacturer of turf maintenance equipment (lawnmowers) and water-saving irrigation systems for golf courses, sports fields, public green spaces, commercial and residential lawns, and agricultural fields.
Founded as the Toro Motor Company in 1914, it serves professionals such as landscape contractors, golf course superintendents, and sports fields and grounds managers, as well as individual homeowners.
In 1986, Toro acquired the Wheel Horse Products Division of American Motors (AMC). Wheel Horse manufactured a wide range of lawn and garden tractors, as well as riding lawn mowers. The division was spun-off from AMC as the automaker focused company strategy on vehicles. Lawn and garden tractors were then marketed under the Toro, Wheel Horse, as well as the Toro Wheel Horse names. Acquisitions continued with the purchase of Lawn-Boy in 1989, James Hardie Irrigation in 1996, Exmark Manufacturing in 1997, Hayter Ltd. in 2005, and Rain Master Irrigation Systems and Turf Guard Wireless Monitoring Technology in 2007.
In the 1990s, then CEO Kendrick Melrose changed the company’s strategy. Shifting its focus to 'professional maintenance markets' - such as golf courses, sports fields, municipal parks, and commercial properties - yielded higher margins and offered more protection from the uncertainty of weather and economic conditions than the highly competitive residential market segments. In 2007, almost 70 percent of the company's sales came from professional markets, versus one-third back in 1990.
The company's products are marketed under several brands: