BELLE FOURCHE | Tom and Debbie Carlsen are looking forward to some time off as they retire from the John Deere implement business they have been a part of for nearly 40 years.
"Just take a deep breath," said Tom of his initial plans after Bentz Equipment becomes one of eight Grossenburg Implement dealerships, as of next Monday.
Tom Carlsen took a few moments on Tuesday to reflect on his time in the implement business, selling and servicing John Deere farm implements, yard equipment and utility vehicles from their location just east of Belle Fourche.
He said this year has been particularly hectic for the dealership. Many of his agricultural customers have dealt with the extraordinarily long, cold winter and wet spring and summer weather that played havoc with the harvest of this year’s hay crop.
Continued wet weather made it difficult for producers to harvest the abundance of alfalfa in the region.
“This summer has been a really unique summer,” he said. “It was just a mad rush trying to get everybody going.”
Lawrence and Joyce Bentz started Bentz Equipment in 1966. Tom and Debbie were partners in Bentz’ Sturgis location in 1980, eventually closing that store and moving to Belle Fourche with Tom becoming a salesman in 1986, then eventually taking over for Lawrence and Joyce.
Debbie and a daughter, Jennifer, remain involved in the day-to-day operation of the company.
Also included in the deal is Sundance Equipment, which has been operated by Robert Yemington since 1975. In 2011, Sundance Equipment and Bentz Equipment merged, doing business as YC, Inc.
“It’s humbling. Our Grossenburg Implement family just keeps growing, and we couldn’t be more excited to expand and continue these relationships,” said Grossenburg Implement president Barry Grossenburg, a third-generation member of the family-owned company headquartered in Winner.
The Belle Fourche and Sundance dealerships join other Grossenburg locations in Pierre, Philip, Winner, and three in Nebraska, Bloomfield, Hartington and Wayne.
“We are always looking forward and couldn’t be more excited to work with the current employees and the knowledge they have. We also feel Grossenburg Implement’s multi-generational family upbringing will be a good fit,” Barry Grossenburg said in announcing the acquisitions on the company’s web page.
Carlsen said the Grossenburg Implement chain is small enough to run a hands-on operation, and big enough to obtain equipment and products in bulk.
“They’re very service-oriented and that’s good,” he said.
Carlsen said he and Debbie hope to do some traveling and plan to remain active followers of Black Hills State University athletics. Perhaps they'll even take a vacation in the summer months, when normally they would be swamped with their busy growing season.
For this week, they have been saying their goodbyes; Friday is their last day. Tom said they’ll miss many the relationships they have built with customers and others in the business community over the years.
“Sometimes you don’t think you’ve made a difference or done anything stupendous. It’s nice to know that people over the years have appreciated it,” he said.