Ninety years as an independent, family-owned Case IH dealership was enough of an accomplishment to draw the town mayor and a large crowd of customers, who witnessed the proclamation and declaration of “Wellington Implement Day” Feb. 5.
The honor was bestowed upon the dealership by Mayor Hans Schneider, who thanked the business for its nine decades of service to farmers, the local schools and the community.
Wellington Implement got its start in 1929, with Willard and Eva Young, and today includes a location in Ashland, and a forth-coming location in Medina, set to open in early March.
Tom Stannard, the general manager and fourth generation, said employees are one of the biggest reasons the dealership has prevailed.
“We believe in them and give them the freedom to make the best decisions for our customers,” he said.
When the Medina location opens, the company will employ about 50, with several who have been with them for 10-20 years or more.
Tom’s father and company president, Bill Stannard, said the leadership does a good job of talking through major decisions and supporting the final decision.
“Whatever way we’re going, we’re just going to make the best of it,” Bill Stannard said.
According to Bill, the decision to acquire the Ashland and Medina locations really wasn’t in the works, but when the opportunity came, it made sense to act. Bill said having three locations is plenty for now, and that it allows the company still maintain the “culture” that customers and employees expect.
“We’re not getting any pressure from our manufacturers to grow any faster than we are,” Tom said. “That’s because we do a good job for them. We’re putting the numbers on the board they want to see, and as long as we keep doing a good job for them and our customers, we’re going to be able to keep doing what we think is right.”
Tom said the company is situated in an ideal location, with livestock and dairy farmers in neighboring counties, large crop farms to the west, and urban landowners to the north. With that kind of diversity, they sell everything from lawn and garden, to utility and construction equipment, to production farm equipment.
In 90 years, the business has seen a lot of changes — the biggest related to the size of equipment, and the amount of technology and precision that goes into each machine.
“It’s a challenge for us sometimes to keep our knowledge ahead of what they (customers) already know,” Bill said. “These guys are out there absorbing knowledge and new technologies all of the time, and it’s kind of a demand on us to stay on top of it.”
Wellington Implement has a storied past, with hard work and determination.
Before they started the company in 1929, Willard and Eva Young sold their farm in Ashland County and moved to Wellington, where they formed the dealership.
In 1966, a fire of unknown cause left the family with nearly $100,000 in damages, but employees and family members worked to clean up the mess, and were open for business the following day.
In 1998, Patti Young, a granddaughter of Eva, came to the company to serve as office manager, following an accomplished career as a teacher and in public relations.
In 2001, the Wellington location moved to its current location, at 625 S. Main Street, Wellington.
A customer appreciation day at the Ashland store will be held Feb. 13, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. To learn more, visit www.wellingtonimplement.com, or call 440-647-3725 for the Wellington location. The Ashland location can be reached at 419-289-3610, or call 330-725-4951 for Medina.