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Kennedy Implement changes ownership

by Del Bartels

The ownership of Kennedy Implement has officially changed hands. Denny Kennedy has sold his share of the business to long-time partner Mark Buchholz.

"Same name, same faces, everything will go on the same," said Buchholz.

"For 27 years Mark and I have been in business together," said Kennedy. "We have tried to take care of the customers as well as possible. Mark and I have had a business relationship of good communication." Buchholz added, "... a very open line of communication." and Kennedy continued, "... and I think that is why it has worked so well for us."

Buchholz said, "There are many three generation families that we are proud to serve. We look forward to continuing that service and working with a fourth generation. I look forward to carrying on the tradition we have started. We all have the same ideals for our customers."

Kennedy said, "Many of our employees have been with us for a long time, some for 35 years, and our turnover rate is very low. We have tried to create a niche in that not only do we sell to our customers, but also work with service and parts. A lot of dealers' selling area is 10-20 miles, while we drive 70 and more miles on service calls."

Kennedy Implement, now under singular ownership, will hold an open house on Tuesday, March 9. Coffee, cookies and a friendly atmosphere of business will be offered all day during business hours. A meal, free to all past, present and future customers, will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Buchholz said that during the month of March there will be many specials on parts.

In 2007, Kennedy Implement celebrated the move to its current location, an 18,000 square foot building up the hill on Pleasant Street on the east side of Philip.

In 1944, the auto and implement dealership business was purchased by the Kennedy brothers from Carl Pritchard. Howard and Dorothy Kennedy ran the implement company while Wayne (Duck) and Janie Kennedy, ran the family ranches near Faith and west of Philip. Howard and Dorothy have since passed away, Duck was killed in a horse accident in 1981, and Janie still resides in Philip.

While dealerships were closing in Wall, Midland, Kadoka, Belvidere and Faith, the business in Philip not only did well, but won acknowledgements. Case company noted 50 years of service (1944-1994) by Kennedy Implement. GMC noted 25 years (1976-2001) continual service. Over the years, Kennedy Implement shifted away from automobiles, but added the McCormick tractor line.

Kennedy, after graduating from Philip High School and South Dakota State University, worked as a pharmacist until 1976. "I enjoyed the implement business and dealing with the people much more," he explained years ago. Since then, Kennedy's service philosophy had always been the same as his father's, "You sell something, you take care of it." Now, Buchholz will continue that same Kennedy Implement tradition.

"I felt it was time," said Kennedy. "I thank everybody for their business and their friendship."