The inevitable has happened. U.S. Tractor & Harvest, the local John Deere dealership, has consolidated in Montrose, leaving a gap on Highway 50 in Delta. A new building at 4766 N. Townsend Avenue in Montrose houses both the Delta operation and the Montrose dealership formerly located on East Main Street.
While the decision to consolidate might make sense economically, it means the loss of a business that has been a fixture in the Delta community for more than 60 years.
The upside, said branch manager Kirk Smith, is that customers will find a more efficient operation, a larger variety of parts, and a state-of-the-art virtual training center for both employees and customers. Today's Gators, garden tractors and farm equipment are loaded with technology such as GPS guidance systems and data monitoring. Classes will ensure farmers are up to speed on the features designed to help them maximize their operations. Service department employees can exchange information with factory representatives in Waterloo, Iowa, via the Internet.
Smith said U.S. Tractor & Harvest will remain visible throughout Delta County with three mobile service trucks and dedicated salesmen. All employees of the Delta branch have been moved to Montrose.
"We hated to leave Delta," Smith said, "but we had a duplication of two stores within 20 miles. This will be more efficient for us and the customers both. With a global economy, we've got to do everything we can — good or bad — to keep business viable."
The property at 655 Highway 50 is owned by Ralph and Pat Mangum, who sold Delta Implement to U.S. Tractor & Harvest in August 2010. The dealership had been in their family for over 50 years, and was an iconic part of Delta for more than 65 years.
Ralph Mangum said U.S. Tractor's lease does not expire until the end of the year and while he's fielded a couple of inquiries about purchasing the property, he'd prefer to lease it.
"I hope it won't stay vacant for long," he said. He added a stoplight is slated to be installed at that intersection in conjunction with the alternate truck route construction.blog comments powered by Disqus