CUBA CITY, Wis. — After practically 45 years of promoting implements to and servicing the gear of space farmers, a longtime Cuba Metropolis vendor is closing its doorways.
Three Freiburger brothers — Dubuque natives Clint, Larry and Steve — and Pat Williams all had a hand in operating Grant Gear Co. On Friday, the enterprise’s penultimate day of operation, the homeowners obtained legislative commendations from two southwest Wisconsin lawmakers in recognition of their service to farmers within the tri-state space.
“The mortality price for small companies is extremely excessive,” mentioned state Sen. Howard Marklein, who’s a licensed skilled accountant by commerce. “There’s quite a lot of firms that don’t make it a yr. The truth that you’ve been right here so long as you’ve can be a testomony to the management and laborious work of all the staff right here.”
Because the agricultural market improved in recent times, the Freiburgers and Williams, of Platteville, jumped on the likelihood to retire and bought the property at 2120 Wisconsin 80 to Premier Cooperative, which has areas all through southwest Wisconsin.
“We’re at first of an upswing,” Clint mentioned. “It lastly introduced a purchaser. If we had been nonetheless caught in a downturn, the customer in all probability wouldn’t have surfaced.”
The Freiburgers grew up in rural Dubuque milking cows for neighbors and later discovered employment at a dealership for Massey Ferguson tractors.
Years later, Clint and Larry noticed the chance to run their very own enterprise in Cuba Metropolis and based Grant Gear Co. in 1976.
The enterprise relocated three years later to its present location, a few mile south of town limits. Steve joined the outfit in 1982 and Williams in 1987.
Among the many firm’s choices had been tractors, discs, skid-steer loaders, combines and planters. Workers additionally serviced and repaired implements and bought elements. At its apex, it employed 13 employees.
The enterprise weathered the Nineteen Eighties farm disaster, which noticed the simultaneous decline of land costs and enhance of farm debt for land and gear purchases.
The late 2010s additionally introduced record-low commodity costs.
When farmers’ revenue margins shrink, they have an inclination to forgo gear alternative, Steve mentioned.
Small household companies akin to Grant Gear Co. should endure downturns with the added problem of competing with massive chains that profit from economies of scale. Farm gear additionally has grown in measurement and expense, rising money circulation.
“The pressures that the ag companies face are the identical as what farmers face,” mentioned state Rep. Travis Tranel, a Cuba Metropolis dairy farmer. “A whole lot of occasions now, the ag companies, they’re consolidating. You don’t discover mom and dad retailers now which have one or two areas.”
All through the years when agriculture confronted financial downturns, self-employment underscored the need of perseverance, Steve mentioned.
“You simply tighten your belts and transfer on and make the most effective of a foul state of affairs,” he mentioned.