J.B. Mertz & Son To Celebrate 100th Anniversary Open House
WEST?BEND – On Friday, July 14, 2017, J. B. Mertz & Son, West Bend, Iowa, will celebrate 100 years as a John Deere dealer. An open house for their customers and family will take place from 3-8 p.m. this Friday afternoon and eveningat the store in West Bend.
J.B. Mertz & Son was started in Ottosen, IA, by J.B. Mertz, in 1907 as an implement business and became a John Deere franchise in 1917. While in Ottosen, J.B. managed the implement store, livestock station and an elevator. At that time he carried both John Deere and Farmall equipment. Donald and Harvey, J.B.’s sons, worked with their father. In 1935, J.B. moved the John Deere dealership and the livestock station to West Bend after selling the elevator. Donald left at that time to become a cattle buyer in Nebraska.
The dealership was first located on Broadway Avenue in the building currently owned by NAPA Auto Parts. The business was temporarily housed in the present-day West Bend Community Center for a time. In 1949, the store was moved to 17 S. Broadway where Community Lumber, Inc. is now located.
In 1950, Jack Mertz joined his father and Harvey in the business. Jack managed the livestock business and Harvey oversaw the implement store. After Harvey’s sudden death in 1959, Jack took over all aspects of the business.
In 1973 John Mertz joined his father, Jack, in the family business. At this time the family still owned the livestock business and the implement business. The hog buying station was sold to Western Buyers of Algona, IA, in the 1980’s.
In 1964, the Ida Allen acreage on the east side of Highway 15 was purchased, and in 1965 the present dealirship buildings were constructed. In 1999 an expansion was added to the main office, in effect tripling the size of the original building. In 2013 a 14,000 square foot building was erected to house combines and provide a new wash bay.
J.B. Mertz & Son has seen the evolution of farming from horse drawn equipment to 2-cylinder 25 HP tractors to the present day 6-cylinder 620 HP tractors. “The biggest changes we have seen are the use of herbicides, insecticides and GPS systems which have enabled farmers to work more efficiently today,” said John.
When J.B. Mertz & Son began their business in 1917 they employed 4 people. Today customers rate the eighteen employees in the top 95%, because of providing excellent sales, service and parts to the area farmers.
The families of J.B., Harvey, Jack and John are very proud of the company for surviving 100 years. The entire Mertz family wishes to thank all of their customers, friends, family and employees for the support over the past 100 years in helping us achieve this milestone in John Deere history.