WANAMINGO, Minn. – Groth Implement of Wanamingo, Minn., celebrated the grand opening of its new location and 40th year of business with an open house on Dec. 11. This year, Groth Implement moved from its longtime location on Main Street to the Industrial Park. Company President Brian Groth said, “We couldn’t have reached this 40-year milestone without the support of our dedicated customers.” One hundred fifty to 200 customers from far and near came to celebrate with the business.
The Groth family got its start in the farm equipment business when Fred Groth Sr. purchased the Main Street property in December 1946 to sell implements and other engines. Ownership of the business changed hands over the years and in 1974 Lew and Liz Groth purchased the property and opened Groth Implement, featuring New Holland equipment.
After school, Lew and Liz Groth’s children, Brian and Barb, would ride their bikes along Highway 60 from Kenyon to Wanamingo to help at the dealership. Brian worked in the shop, washing and fixing equipment. “All that did was teach me that I don’t want to do that,” he said. Brian took over sales for Groth Implement in the mid-1980s and soon after approached his father about buying the business. Lew’s only stipulation was that his son needed 4 years of college. Brian did so, earning a bachelor’s degree in business with a minor in accounting. He was serious about owning the business and there was no stopping him from his goal. Lew said, “I tried to talk him out of it, right up until the papers were signed ... Brian had his mind made up.”
On April 1, 1997, Brian took the reins and Lew happily retired. However, Liz stayed on and still works with Brian part-time. “Liz is a fixture,” Lew said, “Brian lucked out having Liz as an employee. She works harder than anyone for no money!” Of his mother Brian said, “I couldn’t have anybody more loyal.”
In 2006, Brian Groth purchased B&B Implement in Mazeppa. Groth Implement in Wanamingo and Mazeppa offer the same equipment. Groth spends most mornings at the Mazeppa site and afternoons at the Wanamingo office.
To expand the line of products offered, in 2012 Groth Implement joined JCB’s North American dealer network. The company now offers JCB’s full line of agricultural equipment, including Loadall telescopic handlers, wheel loaders, Fastrac high-speed tractors, Teletruk fork lifts, and Workmax utility vehicles. JCB’s unconventional, easy entry, and safe skid loader is the biggest seller. The last two years Groth Implement has been named JCB’s Top Ag Performer in the U.S. It is also being promoted as the showcase dealer for JCB, as a model for potential new dealerships.
Due to customer demand, Brian Groth keeps a majority of his New Holland inventory at the Mazeppa site and JCB equipment in Wanamingo. In the future, he would also like to add more earth-moving equipment to his inventory for construction use, in addition to Krause tilling equipment to help maintain sales constancy from year to year.
Over the past four decades, Groth Implement has seen continued growth. This year the company needed more outdoor and indoor space, along with an updated building. When a building in the Industrial Park came up for sale, Groth made the calculated decision to buy it and the adjacent land for a new site. After Labor Day, the building at 850 3rd Avenue opened for business. Groth said, “Wanamingo is a good community to do business in. There is a lot of loyalty ... It is a pleasure doing business with people like that. They appreciate the fact that you are here, they support you, and that’s all you could ask for.”
Brian’s younger cousin, Jarid Groth, now works for him. Brian is proud of the fact that Jarid is the fourth generation of Groths to work in the family implement business. Jarid recently graduated from Luther College with a degree in business.
Lew said his son would one day regret his decision to buy the business. But after 17 years as owner, Brian has no regrets. He said, “I enjoy the challenge of being successful.” Brian also likes supporting the town and the area through business. He is thankful for career he has chosen and for the success he has experienced. “I do recognize how lucky I have been,” he said.