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Colusa Tractor sold to YC John Deere firm
Colusa County farmers can still buy a John Deere locally, but their checks will be going to a different company.
Valley Truck and Tractor added its ninth John Deere store when it completed the purchase of Colusa Tractor on Highway 20 west of Colusa on Wednesday.
A banner was hung on the outside of the storefront to announce the first day of operations on Thursday.
"We just opened up as Valley Truck and Tractor today, and this basically completes the purchase of all the John Deere franchises in the Sacramento Valley," said co-owner Henry Miller Jr.
Valley Truck and Tractor has been in business since the mid-1940s.
Opened as an International franchise by Henry Miller Sr., it switched to John Deere in 1986.
The family patriarch is still active in the business. "He comes to work every day," said Henry Miller Jr. "He will be 91 in two months."
Another son, John Miller, is also an owner, and there are other stockholders involved as well.
Henry Miller Jr. said the John Deere corporation encourages bringing all the franchises under single management, so Colusa joins stores in Willows, Woodland, Chico, Robbins, Gridley, Elk Grove and the headquarters in Yuba City.
Miller said negotiations actually started about eight months ago as a possible merger.
"It started as that and then it turned into an acquisition," he said.
"We have gained a very viable farming area, and we are very familiar with the cropping and a vast majority of the customers," Miller said. "Three or four of the customers I saw today I have seen in some of our other stores."
The company employs about 140 people. However, not all of the Colusa Tractor employees will keep their job.
Miller confirmed that all the employees were initially terminated and asked to re-apply. He said 90 percent were rehired — although some will have to relocate if they want to keep those jobs.
Miller said where there was duplication of duties — particularly among the office staff who have duties that are done at the centralized corporate office in Yuba City — those employees were not offered positions.
But Miller said that, for the customers, not much will change.
Miller said completing the sale during the rice harvest has made things a bit hectic, but views it as a positive for the company and the customers.
"We can offer a broader spectrum of John Deere and other products," Miller said. "And there will be more parts that are available at different stores, and can be moved overnight from one store to another to be better serve the customers."
It is the second major tractor firm in the area to sell in recent months. Bianchi Case IH purchased Ambac in the spring. They are located right down the highway from Valley Truck and Tractor.