WATERLOO -- After 120 years and four generations, Metzger Equipment Co. will be closing its doors.
The tractor, farm and lawn equipment dealer is in the process of selling its property at 1000 Park St. in Waterloo. Co-owner Jim Glessner said that the business that his great-grandfather Frank Metzger founded in 1892 as a blacksmith shop is being sold after failed attempts to attract another supplier. He said the business had been cut from the network of Racine, Wis.-based Case IH dealerships a few years ago and was unable to continue as a dealer of Kubota tractors and parts.
"Case canceled about a third of their dealerships," Glessner said. "That was what their plan was. They figured that they needed to eliminate smaller dealers, which we are. We're no longer a Case dealer, but we thought we could get by with Kubota alone and selling Case parts that we could get from a different source, but it wasn't enough. It just wasn't enough."
Glessner and his brother Mike have been running the business since 1992. Glessner said that the building located off Illinois 156 at 1000 Park St., where the dealership has operated since 1980, is being sold. The remaining inventory is being sold at a discount. Whatever is left will eventually be auctioned.
"There were a lot of factors," Glessner said. "We tried to sell it and get another dealership. Our intentions were to get someone to take over so we can continue the dealership, so it would be good for us, good for our customers and good for employees."
But the brothers received no other offers. Glessner said a sale is imminent but not yet completed. He declined to comment further on the pending deal.
"We needed to do something," he said. "We talked with a potential buyer and finally it's in the works."
Mike Glessner said he had worked in his family's business since 1961. He said it is the only job that he and his brother ever knew.
"It's all we ever did," Mike Glessner said.
Their great-grandfather came to town from Floraville in 1877 when he was 17 years old. Frank Metzger established the business on Mill Street. The blacksmith shop eventually expanded into selling farm implements and was relocated a number of times in town.
Today, five employees remain, and no one else in the family is interested in taking over the business.
"It was just time for us to get out," Mike Glessner said.