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Farmers Rescue Tractor Dealership
The Schilling Brothers, John Deere dealership, of Assumption, Ill., was rescued from financial difficulties when a group of 17 farmers and four employees purchased a little more than half the dealership's stock.
According to owner Dave Schilling, the dealership would have closed its doors to customers in Coles County without the support of the area farmers.
The dealership had previously been owned by Schilling, his brother, Dwight Schilling, brothers Tom and Jim Sloan and their uncle, Larry Sloan, all of Assumption.
The stock purchase occurred after the Sloan family decided to sell their portion of the business, Schilling said. Each new stockholder bought between 1% to 17% of the stock.
The deal brought in just under $500,000 for the dealership, he said and took about three months to finalize.
According to Schilling, most of the farmers who bought stock did so to keep the John Deere dealership in the area. The farmers were faced with spending the money on traveling to the nearest John Deere dealership for repairs and parts.
"The dealership is unique in that it was the first dealership purchased by a group of farmers," Schilling said. Individual farmers have backed dealerships, but this is the first group to pool their resources to back a dealership, he reported.
Schilling said he has received calls from other dealers in the state inquiring about the stock deal.
The John Deere Company approved the sale of the stock, Schilling said, because the company wanted to keep the high market concentration in the Coles County region.
The dealership was doing good business except for the last two years, Schilling said.
"The dealership was affected by two dry years," he said, adding that the business has been affected "basically by the same problems which have affected the rest of the Midwest."
At the present, the dealership is doing well and has about 50 tractors waiting for repairs, Schilling said.
According to him, the dealership stopped selling stock when the business had enough funds to cover itself.
One stipulation with the stock purchase was that the new owners would not receive special treatment or deals at the dealership due to their standing as a stockholder, Schilling noted.
However, the stockholders will have some input into the business, he said. Already, the new owners have made suggestions for the business such as increasing the advertisement of used equipment and painting the shop's ceiling.
While the purchase of stock has kept the dealership's doors open, the business will seek additional financial help through a low interest loan from the Small Business Administration, Schilling said.
Also, the city of Mattoon will apply for an Illinois Community Development Assistance grant to loan to the dealership at the fixed rate of 3% reported Mike Michalski, executive vice president of the Mattoon Association of Commerce. (By Mark A. Cottingham, Illinois Agri-News).

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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #3