Waukon Implement celebrates 25 years under current ownership, an even longer history of serving Waukon and the local community

Current staff at Waukon Implement ... In celebration of Bob Bodensteiner owning Waukon Implement for a milestone 25 years, the Waukon facility will be hosting an open house this Thursday, September 23. Greeting those attending the open house event will be the current staff members pictured above and listed below with their start date of employment with Waukon Implement and, where applicable, at the Waukon location prior to Bodensteiner’s ownership. Left to right - Front row: Ethan Osterhaus (June 2014), Nick Dahlstrom (April 2018), David Knutson (October 1996 with Bodensteiner Implement, January 1994 at Waukon location), Joe Curtin (March 2019), Nathan Hennessy (May 2017), Patrick Monroe (March 2003), Lisa Moose (October 1996 with Bodensteiner Implement, September 1992 at Waukon location), Brandon Johnson (May 2011), Mike Cooper (August 2004), Tyler Manning (May 2013), Chris Redenius (Bodensteiner Implement General Manager); Back row: Bob Bodensteiner (Bodensteiner Implement Owner), Tom Kuennen (October 1996), Kyle Halverson (December 1996), Larry Downing (December 2007), Andy Shogren (December 1997), Jeff Leppert (December 2013), Kenny Howe (October 1996 with Bodensteiner Implement, March 1989 at Waukon location), Trent Jacobs (October 1996 with Bodensteiner Implement, September 1980 at Waukon location), Mark Berns (March 1999), Shawn Schulte (February 2009), Tim Green (December 2009). Submitted photo.

Waukon Implement celebrating ownership milestone ... The Waukon location of Bodensteiner Implement is celebrating its 25th anniversary under Bodensteiner ownership. The John Deere foundation of the Waukon facility dates backs to its original establishment in the 1930s and continued growth into this current facility at the intersection of Highways 9 and 76 south of Waukon. Submitted photo.

by David M. Johnson

Farmers are notorious for patronizing certain brands of feed, machinery, or anything that has to do with their farming operation. When it comes to breed of livestock, usually one breed and maybe something else mixed in for some reason or another. Even the clothes on their back may be of a particular line and nothing else is permitted. Farm equipment is no different.

In this area the color is usually green, orange, or different shades of red. The John Deere green has a very loyal following. There are a number of dealerships spread out in many locations to service those needs of area farmers, farmers owning the implements with the green and yellow logo.

There has been a John Deere implement dealership selling, maintaining and repairing those John Deere offerings right here in the Waukon area since the 1930s, most recently changing hands when Bob Bodensteiner purchased the dealership in 1996 and is today celebrating a quarter of a century of service to area farmers. Bodensteiner and company benefited from a solid foundation to kick off that ownership of the long-standing Waukon location.

To celebrate that quarter century of Bodensteiner ownership, an open house is being held at the Waukon facility this Thursday, September 23. Details about that open house event appear in the advertisement below on this same page.

According to the 1989 Allamakee County, Iowa History publication and material submitted by Dianne Rissman and Carolyn Clark of Forest Mills Quilt Shop, John Deere machinery has had a home in the local business community for almost 90 years.

The first John Deere shop, owned by John Hager, was located where the Waukon State Bank parking lot is now located. The Brandt and Gilbert Company assumed the dealership, sold a tractor in 1937 and five tractors in 1938, with rubber tires replacing the steel wheels that were on earlier models. Keith Clark began employment in 1938 for Simon Brandt and Darrell  Gilbert, who had a building located on First Avenue SW, directly west of the P.J. Mahoney building.

In 1940 Jack Griffen opened a John Deere dealership in the Gleisner Building at 703 West Main Street. In the fall of 1944, Orrin Grangaard bought the business and continued at that location until the fall of 1948. Later in the spring of 1949 he built a larger building at 710 West Main, remaining there for ten years.

In the spring of 1958 a corporation was formed, the stockholders being Keith Clark, Reuben Hansmeier, Robert Hansmeier, Lee Weymiller, Harry Marti, the Sanvold Brothers and Orrin Grangaard. After 16 years, Keith, Lloyd and Bill Clark bought out the other stockholders in 1974.

In 1969, the firm had expanded and relocated on a 10-acre site south of Waukon at the junction of Highways 9 and 76, remaining at that location today. Keith Clark celebrated his own anniversary in 1978, and was recognized for his service to John Deere for 40 years.  Keith retired in 1979 and he and his wife, Hope, spent their time together in Jefferson Township.

In 1972, “Leisure Lodge” was built alongside the service building to sell and service lawn mowers, boats, snowmobiles and other products. This building was leased to Torkelson’s Chrysler-Dodge and later, from 1978 to 1986, it was rented to Waukon Ford-Mercury.

When Keith Clark retired, he sold the dealership to Leonard Worth, with Worth managing the dealership until February 1984. Harvey Halverson and Jack Weber, owners of the John Deere dealership in Lansing operating under the name of the Lansing Garage, moved to Waukon and changed the name to Allamakee Implement.

Bob Bodensteiner began his 25-year history with the Waukon location when he purchased the dealership in October of 1996, changing the name to Waukon Implement. The Waukon purchase was not Bodensteiner’s first foray into dealership waters, having already gained part or full ownerships in Elkader, Clermont and Decorah (Juve Inc.), and after Waukon, in Cascade and Monticello  (Smothers Equipment), Dyersville (Dyersville Implement), Cresco and New Hampton (Boos Implement), and Oelwein and Rowley (Hub City Implement).

The Bodensteiner Implement Company holds contracts with John Deere for Agriculture Equipment, Commercial Equipment and Consumer Equipment, and Commercial Worksite Products, in addition to other strategic product partnerships.

The Bodensteiner name is not one individual but a family-owned corporation. Bob Bodensteiner still leads the company as the President and CEO, with a second generation now managing the business. Chris Redenius, Bob’s son-in-law, is the general manager. Bob’s wife, Ginny, and Chris’ wife, Keri, have added the much needed support and advice at times that are crucial in a family-owned business.

This company has had success as it has focused on market leadership, thanks to a Corporate Management team that has accumulated a prosperous and thriving ag equipment enterprise based on years in the industry. Because they have a deep appreciation of their customer base, they have developed a clientele that is loyal to the company based on the company’s understanding that their customers are their top priority.

Bodensteiner Implement has been the recipient of the prestigious John Deere and Company Managers Club Award for 19 years out of the 23 years since the award’s inception. This is an honor only awarded to the top 35 John Deere ag dealerships nationwide. This recognition is based on superior customer, market and operational performance.  Bodensteiner Implement Company gives credit to its outstanding employees whose dedication and commitment to the customer has paid dividends in a big way to the outstanding success of the company.

Kyle Halverson, manager of Waukon Implement, is one of those employees that adds to the value that is desired of any business, especially an ag dealership.  Halverson grew up in the farm equipment business, with his dad owning and operating an Allis Chalmers and New Holland dealership in Elkader.

The elder Halverson began working for the Bodensteiner name in the mid 1980s. Kyle moved to Waukon in December of 1996 and has continued employment through today.

He firmly believes the success of Waukon Implement is due to the continued employment of the two dozen individuals that provide the backbone of the dealership. Among employees, there is a core group that has been together since the beginning, including Tom Kuennen, Kyle Halverson, Trent Jacobs, Lisa Moose, David Knutson, Andy Shogren and Ken Howe.

Local farmers can go to this dealership and witness a local source for service, parts and sales. Those not into farming can experience these same offerings for any non-farm interest the dealership might offer. This business, because of its professional attitude, has witnessed several generations of continued customer business, something again that reflects on this company’s professionalism.

Halverson is like many of the employees, now an entrenched resident, having raised a family here locally, with both of his kids being graduates of the Allamakee Community School District. His desire is to remain with the company and the dealership. Halverson is not the exception, but is like many of those who are also working for this local dealership, providing that foundation for why businesses like Waukon Implement continue to succeed.