Martin Tractor Co., a family-owned business operating in Topeka since 1928, has been sold to Foley Equipment Co. based in Wichita.
Like Martin, Foley is a dealer for Caterpillar, AGCO, AgChem, Trimble and other manufacturers of farm and construction equipment.
The acquisition means Foley will have 18 locations serving all of Kansas, except Doniphan, Atchison, Leavenworth, Wyandotte, Johnson, and Cherokee counties.
The acquisition still has regulatory hurdles to clear, but officials of both companies expect to close the deal on Nov. 2.
Harry Craig Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Martin Tractor, declined Thursday to discuss the reasons why the company was sold.
Martin Tractor traces its history to 1911 when brothers Fred P. Martin and Charles H. Martin purchased a foundry and machine shop in Ottawa. The business became a dealer for Holt Manufacturing in 1920.
Martin Tractor sold the first track-type tractor in Kansas.
When Holt merged with Best Co. to form Caterpillar Inc. in 1925, Martin Tractor carried the new company's products, making it the second-oldest Caterpillar dealership in the world. Martin Tractor opened a Topeka location in 1928, which became the home office in 1935.
Leadership of the company then was by Charles Martin Jr., William W. Martin and Donald D. McRae. McRae, a son-in-law of founder Fred Martin, died Wednesday in Topeka.
Craig joined the company in 1970 after practicing law in Topeka. His wife, Kay, is the daughter of Charles Martin Jr. Their son, H.W. Craig, has been president and chief operating officer in recent years.
The company's Web site describes Harry Craig as the "chief inspirational officer." He explained Thursday that is a title he came up with that seemed to fit one of his functions.
"My job is to keep the organization going in the right direction," he said.
Craig said none of the family members will be staying with the company after the sale is closed. Terms of the transaction weren't disclosed.
Martin Tractor employs 283 people in its six locations, including 175 in Topeka at 1737 S.W. 42nd.
Farm Equipment Dealership of the Year – 2020