Harry Olson said he'd known it was time to quit for a couple of months.
On Friday, he announced he was selling Waterloo Implement Inc., a three-store chain of John Deere dealerships, to Enid, Okla.-based Deere dealer P&K Equipment.
"It took a lot of conversations back and forth for this to be completed, but I've known this is the direction to go the past two or three months," said Olson, 72, who launched his company in 1972 with a single dealership in Waterloo.
Waterloo Implement Co. also includes Waverly Implement, which Olson purchased in 1997, and Sumner Implement, which the company acquired in 1997.
Olson declined to disclose financial details of the deal.
Barry Pollard and Wendell Kirtley started P&K in 1985, and the company now owns 10 locations in Oklahoma. Last year, the company opened six Iowa locations under the P&K Midwest banner. Those locations are in DeWitt, Hiawatha, Keystone, Lowden, Maquoketa and Mount Vernon.
Pollard and General Manager Scott Eisenhauer were visiting Waterloo Implement Inc. stores Friday but could not be reached for comment.
The deal, which needs approval from Moline, Ill.-based Deere & Co., likely will close June 28, "if we can get all our ducks in a row by then," said Olson, who manages the Waverly operation.
Olson's two children who own stakes in the company --- daughter Sue Morkel, who manages Waterloo Implement, and son Leigh Olson, who runs the Sumner store --- also will leave the company, the elder Olson said.
Things won't change for the other 106 employees who staff the three dealerships, Olson said.
"I very strongly believe that they do business the way we do business and feel strongly about honesty and working good with the customers," Olson said. "I wouldn't have agreed to sell if I didn't believe that would happen."
Business at the stores has been booming, Olson said, although he declined to provide sales figures.
"The past three or four years are the best years since I have been in business," he said. "The farm economy normally does not follow the general economy. If there's a downturn in the economy as a whole, the farm economy usually hangs in there and does well."
Now, he said, it's time for him and Nancy, his wife of 37 years, to do something else, even if it doesn't take them far from their home in rural Denver.
"We're probably not going to move," he said. "We'll probably do some traveling and do some things I haven't had time to do."