This year marks the 50th anniversary of Thoesen Tractor & Equipment based in Lynwood, Illinois. To commemorate the event, Thoesen threw an open house, a blow-out. A couple of hundred attended, including representatives from Thoesen’s manufacturers and Associated Equipment Distributors (AED).
The event was also an excellent opportunity for customers and employees of Thoesen Tractor & Equipment to come together to celebrate this significant milestone. The day was filled with delicious food, fun giveaways from exhibitors that partook in the open house, and a special visit from the mayor of Lynwood, Eugene Williams.
We sat down with Thoesen’s president and owner, Joe Thoesen, to hear about the dealership’s early beginnings and their secrets to long-term success in the heavy equipment industry:
“My father, Peter Thoesen, started the company after being offered a promotion at the local Caterpillar dealer to service manager – for less pay, as he was a field mechanic getting overtime. He declined the offer. As he was informed, it was a ‘take it or leave it’ offer, so he left it. The largest Caterpillar customer of that dealership tracked my father down at home and asked, ‘What happened?’ After my father explained, the customer said, ‘Run out and buy a service truck as fast as you can, since you are the only Caterpillar mechanic we trust to work on our machines.’
“Thus, Thoesen Tractor was founded on service and has remained a sizeable independent service company of all makes and models ever since its founding. After five years, my father had a severe stroke. At the time, I was pursuing an accounting career, but my mother begged me to come into the service business. It was baptism by fire. My brother came in shortly after me, and together we built it into sales, service, parts and rentals, of mostly Caterpillar machines.
“During that time, we acquired other companies, which we sold, including one to United Rentals. When my brother left in 2003 to pursue other interests, I decided to take over Thoesen Tractor.
“Then, 2008 hit. The worst economic tsunami of recent history. We sold off our rental fleet of 130 machines and sold our customer machines to help them survive. But survival is not a long-term business plan. When we looked around the Chicago Midwest area, we identified heavy industry as our next pursuit. This industry includes machines that go into steel making, scrap yards, demolition, recycling, and environmental cleanup. It is a 12-month-a-year business, and with the manufacturers we represent, we provide our customers with a lot of value. We are on a growth path once again.
“What has served us well at Thoesen Tractor is to always look at local, regional and worldwide trends. Those that didn’t are no longer around.”
Thoesen now carries lines from ASV, LaBounty, SANY, and Terex Trucks, not to mention their extensive inventory of used equipment. The dealership has been a member of AED for roughly 20 years. Thoesen remarked, “Our AED membership has significantly bolstered our dealership’s relationships with various manufacturers.”
From everyone at AED, The AED Foundation and CED Magazine, we wish Thoesen Tractor & Equipment another 50 prosperous years.