The Knox County Chamber of Commerce announced Vincennes Tractor Inc. as the recipient of the 2014 “Business of the Year” award. The Knox County Chamber of Commerce and its board of directors are excited to recognize the accomplishments of Vincennes Tractor in the past year and over the last 36 years, VTI’s recent expansions, and continued community involvement set the standard in Knox County.
Vincennes Tractor was Farm Equipment's 2008 Dealership of the Year.
Vincennes Tractor Inc. was formed in 1978 by Edgar Kuhlenschmidt and Rick Linenburg when they took over an existing John Deere dealership in Vincennes, Ind., from R.D. VanEaton. Although just a single-store operation at this point in time, the heritage of the organization has its roots in multi-store operations, before they were fashionable.
Edgar Kuhlenschmidt (now 86 years old) founded Farmers Equipment Co. Inc., a John Deere Dealership, in Evansville Indiana (about 50 miles south of Vincennes) in 1942.
Farmers Equipment Co. Inc. grew to as many as 5 locations at one time. Then Deere told Kuhlenschmidt to break them apart. Concerns over “having all of their eggs in the same basket” lead to the, then store managers, becoming partners with Edgar, each having their own separate corporation.
Kuhlenschmidt is still active in the business today, sometimes from his home in Evansville, sometimes from his home in Florida, and sometimes at the dealership.
Since 1978, Vincennes Tractor Inc. grew to two and then three locations. The smaller locations were eventually closed and now Vincennes Tractor Inc. services its customer base out of the single location in Vincennes.
Vincennes Tractor Inc. has built its business on two very simple statements. “With us, service is the other half of a great product”, and “Quality in Every Action!”
Although the dealership is 72 years old, it is the area’s leader in providing the newest and most up-to-date farm technologies, support and machines.
"We have almost 500 Years of John Deere Experience, ready to serve customers, and our management staff alone has almost 175 years of service to our customers. We have grown by providing this area the best in John Deere Parts, Service and Sales," says Rick Linenburg, general manager.
In 1978, VTI operated out of a quest hut building on Hart Street inside Vincennes.
In 1996, Vincennes Tractor constructed a new 32,300 square foot building just south of Vincennes on U.S. Hwy. 41. (See Farm Equipment November/December 1996 issue “Designed by Everyone”)
In late 2006 an additional 4,800 square foot addition was added to the shop area complete with overhead cranes.
In the summer of 2007, a 10,080 square foot machine storage shed was added.
In January of 2008 a 3,200 square foot addition was started that will almost double the size of the current 2,400 square foot showroom and add additional space to the parts department, as well as some additional office space.
In 2012 an additional 4,800 square feet was added to the shop area.
From left to right, Jason Boyles, ag sales; Wayne Johnson, new VTI stock holder; Jim Schultz, sales manager; Rick Linenburg, general manager; Debbie Linenburg, controller; Steve Turner, John Deere Co.; David Linenburg, aftermarket manager; Jeremy Sullivan, service manager; Sarah Sullivan, service administrator; and Roger Roberson, service foreman.
Also in 2012 Wayne and Robert Johnson, long time customers from St. Francisville, Ill., purchased stock in Vincennes Tractor. Wayne is now involved in sharing his years of farming and management experiences with the management team.
In 2013 an additional 5 acres of ground was purchased bringing the landscape to about 15 total acres.
Over the years, Vincennes Tractor Inc. has achieved many awards. Vincennes Tractor Inc. was a John Deere Signature Dealership for many years straight. Vincennes Tractor has achieved John Deere Gold-Star status, Medallion Dealership status and TOP Satisfied Customers awards.