Kennedy Implement has settled into new location; giving open house and customer appreciation day

Big change ... This picture, taken from the same spot as when Kennedy Implement was just starting its move to the current location, now shows a customer reception area and parts room that is full, organized and always ready for use. Owner Denny Kennedy, and the employees, are eager to show off the new place during their open house.

To celebrate the success of the the new location, Kennedy Implement will be holding an open house and customer appreciation day on Friday, March 2.

Along with cookies and coffee offered from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., a free beef lunch will be held at noon and door prizes will be awarded. The old bottle of inexpensive wine time-capsuled in the walls of the old location will even be opened for some brave employees to sample.

There will be specials on parts and on tractors. A wide variety of machinery will be on display.

The move during March and April 2006 went well. Kennedy's moved from its former spot of over 61 years in downtown Philip to the empty Dakota Case building on Pleasant Street up the hill on the east side of Philip.

"The move went great," said owner Denny Kennedy. "The parts people got things organized. A bunch of FFA students worked hard during a three-day weekend. A planned schematic, referring to bins that were numbered the same way in the old place and the new, was used to show which parts went where. Everything really worked slick."

According to Kennedy, the customers, employees and suppliers like the move. Every aspect of the business is more convenient because everything is concentrated in one building, rather than in the multiple work and storage areas of before. Sales volume has also gone up. The move and the sales of the new McCormick tractor line have been a boost to the the dealership.

"We were down at the old place for just too long. It was a smart move," said Kennedy. "You have no idea of what was there. So much stuff that had collected over the years had to be gone through. We had to decide what we might be able to use and what to get rid of.

"The oldest items in the new place, other than me," said Kennedy, "are parts for the International Harvester H and M lines that came out in the 1920s and 30s. Those machines can last forever. We still use an M to plow snow off of our lot."

Those old machines sold for $1,000 to $1,500 then. Now, Kennedy's sells tractors that can go for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Available machinary for sale includes many models ranging downward in size and cost. Kennedy's can even get in garden tractors.

"When we first got up here, it was a whole new routine, knowing what needed to be done by whom and when. But, we are used to it now," said Kennedy. "Customers seem to really like the new atmosphere. It's more condusive to service, lighter and cleaner."

In 1943, the auto and implement dealership business was purchased by the Kennedy brothers from Carl Pritchard. Howard and Dorothy running the implement company while Howard's brother, Wayne, ran the family ranches near Faith and west of Philip. Now Denny owns the company and his brother, Scott, helps their father run the ranch west of Philip. Wayne's family now owns the Faith ranch.

Kennedy, after graduating from Philip High School and South Dakota State University, worked as a pharmacist until 1976. "I enjoy the implement business and dealing with the people much more," he explained.

Kennedy's service philosophy is the same as his father's, "You sell something, you take care of it. Most dealer work calls for the customer to bring in the machinery, but our mechanics go to the machinery as part of the service," he said.

The new location and its 18,000 square foot building almost immediately began increasing the implement dealership's business. "As time goes by, the need is probably going to come for more employees," said Kennedy.