Equipment Equipment Equipment

History

1910

A harness maker from Chicago moved to Millburg, Michigan. He purchased the Witbeck Hardware Company and changed the name to Louis Gelder. Louis sold wagons, buggies, harnesses, farm implements, hardware, and household goods. His new business also housed the local Post Office. Louis’ three sons Morrie, Bert, and Jonas were very active in the business and helped the business grow.

1912

To service the southwest Michigan fruit farmers, Louis Gelder expanded his business to produce barrels and crates for fruit packaging. This new addition to the business married well with the local Interurban train station, which was across the street, and the local shipping docks to move the fruit easily to the public. The Farmers Company Inc. Fruit Packages & Cooperage, as it was named, was so successful they expanded to the Grand Haven area.

1920

Through this period the business grew and gasoline pump was added to change with the times.

1930

By this time the face of agriculture was shifting and horses were being phased out, as well as the Oliver plow. The store extended its lines to include International Harvester, McCormick-Deering, and Oliver tractors. Always changing with the customer’s needs, Louis Gelder even manufactured orchard sprayers when there was a lack of design and supply.

1934

Louis Gelder died and his sons took over the business and added to the name Louis Gelder & Sons Company.

1944

Morrie’s son Irving joined the business as each owner brought a son in to the company.

1946

Bert’s son Maurice joined his father.

1947

Jonas’ son Louis (Louie) was the final cousin added. The sons were looking forward to continuing the family business. As technology changed, new brands were sold and Massey-Ferguson equipment topped the line. The business thrived and the three cousins took over after their father’s retired.

1950

As cars became a way of life, modern gas pumps were added to the front of the store in the fifties. The “After War Boom” served the business well as the third generation of Gelder’s continued their success through the seventies.

1979

Louie brought the fourth generation in to the business with his eldest son Bruce.

1980

The store celebrated its 70th Anniversary and cousins Maurice and Irving decided to retire. The remaining cousin, Louie, along with his wife Mary Ann, purchased the two retiring relatives shares in the business. New product lines were added such as Yanmar and Durand-Wayland and new lawn and garden equipment brands like Woods, Bush Hog, and Land Pride became a permanent fixture.

1982

Louie’s second son, Joseph, would join his brother Bruce in the family business. The hardware side of the business was phased out. The focus turned to equipment, service, and parts; centering on the product lines of Case and Ford tractors and New Holland hay tools. The fourth generation, as their predecessors had done, learned all aspects of the business, from selling farm implements and tractors to servicing tractors and mowers, delivering equipment, and selling parts.

1994

With years of hands on experience, Bruce and Joe purchased the business from their parents Louie and Mary Ann.

1999

Case and New Holland joined forces and became CNH Global. That same year, the two brothers set their sites on a new location on Dewey Avenue in Benton Harbor, Michigan, just six miles from the old store.

2000

Case and New Holland joined forces and became CNH Global. That same year, the two brothers set their sites on a new location on Dewey Avenue in Benton Harbor, Michigan, just six miles from the old store.

2004

The fifth generation of Gelder’s continued the family tradition when Bruce’s oldest son Mathew joined the business.

2008

Bruce’s youngest son, Marc, united with his brother to complete the fifth generation of Gelder’s.

2009

During the past ten years, other new product lines have been added such as Antonio Carraro, Seppi, Tonutti, and COE cherry shakers.

2010

Louis Gelder & Sons Company celebrated its “100 Year Anniversary”. The business was presented a flag, which was flown over the United States Capital, in honor of this company’s long term commitment. Hundreds of customers, Senate and Congress representatives and the media, helped celebrate this rare occasion.

2011

When looking back on the long family history of the business; the third, fourth, and fifth generations all have fond memories. Third generation, Louie Gelder, now in his eighties, couldn’t be happier now his grandsons are active in the business.

2014

In April of 2014, Louis Gelder & Sons Company proudly opened its second location in Hart, MI. This long awaited event offers Oceana County and the surrounding areas the same diverse agriculture and multi-use equipment as its sister store in Benton Harbor. Parts . Sales . Service

Louie recently commented, “Most all the farm equipment dealers, they’re not here anymore…I never thought we would make it this far.”

You could go to Gelder’s for anything from a tractor to a small part, from gasoline to a Maytag wringer washer. Louie remembers going to the family store when he was very little and playing. As he grew, his responsibilities changed. Starting at age 16, Louie could be found traveling alone cross country to factories to pick up equipment.

Louie’s son Joe remembers going to the store to work for his grandfather, Jonas. Joe started out sweeping the floors on Saturdays for $2.00. He worked his way up from parts, to service, to sales. Now, as one of the current owners, Joe stated, “We have to make changes to keep up with the times, always changing to fill the customer’s needs. That is what makes a business endure."

From 1910 to the present, Louis Gelder & Sons Company has been doing just that. With many innovative product lines, a complete service department and parts department, the Gelder’s are ready for the next 100 years.

New Holland Scag Woods Bush Hog Mahindra
JBS Land Pride Coe Antonio Carraro CarraroSpray
Seppi Fischer Durand Wayland Agrex Spedo
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