Ellefson Implement in Mitchell, one of the last single-family-owned John Deere dealerships in South Dakota, has been sold to C&B Operations, of Gettysburg.

Details on the sale are still being finalized, said General Manager Max Ellefson, but the deal, for an undisclosed amount, will be completed by the end of the year.

“John Deere’s corporate model has been moving to multi-store dealers. A single family operation like ours just didn’t fit that model, and it was a good time to get out,” he said.

C&B owns and operates 19 John Deere farm equipment dealerships in five states, as well as a diesel engine pump repair business. It employs 450 people.

Company owner and CEO Dan Cronin could not be reached for comment Friday.

Max Ellefson said all 32 company employees will sign on with C&B and the dealership will remain at its present location.

His own role with the new company is still under negotiation, he said.

Selling the dealership is a big change, acknowledged owner and family patriarch Bob Ellefson, 77.

“It was tough to see the company go, but times change,” said Ellefson, 77, whose father, Willis, started the dealership in 1935. “Besides, I’m at an age where I’m supposed to be taking it easier.”

Ellefson grew up in the farm implement business. “They were threshing machines, not combines, back then,” he said.

Ellefson kept his hand in the business and reported for work every day.

In later years, son Max and company controller Brian Sevareid were the company’s day-to-day management team, he said.

“It was a good life,” he said.