Pharos-Tribune

Business

February 16, 2014

Oldest to newest: Winamac John Deere dealership merging

Oldest U.S. John Deere dealership merging to become newest

WINAMAC — America’s oldest John Deere dealership is about to become its newest.

Gilsinger Implement in Winamac is merging with Monticello dealership Howard and Sons and Holland, Mich.-based Fillmore Equipment. The three dealerships’ new unified name is GreenMark Equipment.

Long touted as the oldest John Deere dealership in the U.S., Gilsinger Implement was founded in 1899 by John Shank and Joseph Gilsinger, whose grandson Paul Gilsinger now runs the dealership. It now has six sites.

“We went from the oldest to the youngest,” Paul Gilsinger said. He added, however, that the staff members are “the same great people we have, only a new name.”

Howard and Sons in Monticello is run by third- and fourth-generation Howards, Mark and Ryan, whose ancestor Arthur Howard founded the business in 1934 in Monon before it moved to Monticello in the mid-1980s.

“You take quite a bit of history between just the two of us, over those years,” Ryan Howard said.

The new company appears to be based in Holland, Mich., home of Fillmore Equipment. The GreenMarkEquipment.com website redirects to Fillmore Equipment’s site.

However, the new company’s leaders felt the merger included enough changes to warrant a new identity rather than wrapping two of the dealerships into the third, Gilsinger said.

“We thought that the sum total of all the dealerships was better than just picking one and saying we merged with them,” he explained. “It’s enough of a change we thought it merited a new name.”

All told, the new merged dealership will boast 16 locations. The companies expect to benefit from improved efficiencies, broader availability of talent, streamlined facility and operating costs and increased employee investment, according to a press release.

“Now we’re part of a bigger organization and have more resources to draw on,” Gilsinger said.

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