Midwest Machinery adds jobs at Wadena location
When the inventory started dwindling at Evergreen Equipment west of town last fall, the coffee shop chatter was that Wadena would either be losing its only John Deere dealership or that it would turn into a parts depot.
"Midwest Machinery laid that rumor to rest," said Dean Torgerson, store manager for the company's Wadena location, which opened in October. "We're here and we mean business."
Midwest Machinery, a company with 13 central Minnesota locations, purchased Evergreen Equipment in September. Since then, two employees have left, four have been hired and the store is advertising for four more positions. If the business grows as Torgerson expects, more jobs will follow.
"I would expect that we double our store employees over the next couple of years," he said. "That's my goal."
With the additional workers, Midwest Machinery will offer new services and products, including sprayer parts and bulk oil delivery.
The location just added a service truck that can travel to fix broken down equipment right in the farmer's field. Before, local farmers had to wait for someone to come from Hawley, Alexandria or Elbow Lake for such service.
Brian Weber, a Midwest Machinery co-owner and regional sales manager, said most decisions at the Wadena location will be made at the store level.
"They know their customers and employees better than any of us at a corporate level would," he said.
Torgerson said Midwest Machinery "will give us all the resources we need to succeed without getting in the way of day-to-day business."
The savings from being able to buy in bulk as corporation, he said, are directly passed on to the consumer.
The company, Torgerson said, tries to buy vehicles locally, use Wadena mechanics and gets materials at area stores. It recently partnered with Central Lakes College to provide equipment for planting and harvesting in exchange for use of its fields for demolition.
There will be an open house for Midwest Machinery's Wadena location on Tuesday from noon to five. The store is located three miles west of town on the north side of U.S. Highway 10.
"Come out and meet the staff," Torgerson said.
He encouraged people to bring non-perishable food items for the company's "Feed a Gator" program. Midwest Machinery will donate the food - and match its cash value - to local food shelves.
"(The company is) really big on community involvement," Torgerson said.
Shirley Uselman, Wadena Chamber of Commerce executive director, said the new jobs Midwest Machinery is adding will have "domino effect" on the local economy, as new residents spend money in town, buy homes and send their children to local school.
"Any time we can add jobs in our community, it not only helps that person it helps the rest of the community," she said. "It's something that needs to happen in a community to keep it vibrant."