By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
The facility at 21st Century Equipment will take on a whole new look with the start of 20,000-plus square-foot expansion project.
Owen Palm, 21st Century’s general manager and CEO, and Store Manager Larry Talbott officially broke ground on the project Monday morning, surrounded by a host of employees and Chamber representatives.
The project will add a new 10,000 square foot combine service facility and a new 6,500 square-foot merchandising showroom and office area in the front on the new addition.
Palm said they have outgrown the present combine service facility and needed a much larger facility to support their ongoing combine business.
The facility will have 32-foot sidewalls to accommodate two overhead cranes. In addition, in-floor heating will be used.
Talbott said they worked closely with the Imperial airport authority to insure the height of the building would not encroach on airport zoning regulations.
He noted the airport authority was very cooperative about the project and were easy to work with.
Years in planning
Even before 21st Century Equipment purchased the local dealership, Talbott said such a project has been on the drawing board for more than 10 years.
Talbott said they are shooting for a June, 2011 completion date, making it ready for next year’s wheat harvest. C&S Construction of Grant will serve as the general contractor.
Palm noted, with very few exceptions, local subcontractors and suppliers will be used on the project.
He added the additional space will allow them to hire several new service technicians.
Bridgeport-based 21st Century Equipment purchased the local John Deere dealership from Midwest Farm Equipment, Inc., in March, 2008.
The company was originally formed in September, 1996 to purchase the John Deere dealership in Alliance.
In January, 1998 the Alliance store was merged with Morrill County Implement in Bridgeport, which then assumed the name of 21st Century Equipment, Inc.
In August, 2000, they purchased Keith County Implement in Ogallala.
Then, in March, 2001, 21st Century Equipment, Inc. purchased the B&B Sales real estate in Sidney. At the time of the acquisition, B&B Sales was a Ford/New Holland equipment dealership.
They converted the existing facility and began a John Deere dealership in that location and have since built a new facility on the east edge of Sidney. The Sidney area had been without a John Deere dealership for more than two years.
They added the John Deere dealership in Gordon to the fold in June, 2006.
They started 21st Century Water Technologies in Gering after purchasing the Valley Irrigation dealership there.
This business is active in the development of subsurface drip irrigation systems.