By: Chris Lamphere
LAKE CITY, Mich. — John Deere retailer Voelker Implement Sales, with stores in Lake City and Big Rapids, Mich., has been sold to new owners who have big plans for the dealerships.
The sale was finalized Thursday to Bader & Sons Co., a company with seven locations in Michigan, not counting their recent acquisitions.
Paul Bader, co-owner of Bader & Sons, said they decided to purchase the Voelker locations because they are close to their existing stores.
"John Deere likes their stores to be contiguous," Bader said. "So this was a likely acquisition for us."
Bader said now that the new stores are under their ownership, they have extensive facility expansion plans in mind.
"We'll be spending $1 million to add facility upgrades, a new showroom and a shop," Bader said.
While the name of the store will be changed to Bader & Sons Co., members of the Voelker family, along with current employees — around 20 in each store — will be retained by the new owners.
"There is going to be some changes but overall, it's still a John Deere store," Bader said. "We will operate very similar to Voelker."
John S. Voelker started the dealership in Big Rapids in 1955, and in 2002, they expanded to Lake City.
"He and my mother had five children and four of the five are working at the dealership today," said Mary Davison, co-owner of Voelker Implement Sales.
"There are many more resources available to us as part of Bader & Sons. It is sad of course to see the end of Voelker Implement Sales but we look forward to the future with this new company and we believe it is a positive change for all of us."