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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

2011 EDIES Story 2 of 24: How Wendt went from employee to owner to keep a business in Traer

Retiring entrepreneurs are a great threat to small town vitality. With fewer options, resources, and entrepreneurs in rural communities, we encourage business owners to at least start planning their exit strategies 10 years before their goal retirement date. In the case of Kaufman Tire & Service becoming Wendt Tire and Service they modeled one of the great buyout strategies: the employee buyout.  Eugene “Butch” Wendt has been employed with the organization, so when he purchased the business in 2011 with the help of a few investors he already had an insider knowledge and business relationships in place for a healthy transition.  Remind me – what are the EDIES.

HOW WE DID IT: With the help and support of friends, family, FSB&T, former owners Bob and Fran Kaufman, and each other.

HOW WE GOT THE IDEA: When Bob Kaufman decided to retire (after 37 years), we knew we wanted to take the opportunity to purchase a great business. Having worked for Kaufman for many years, we knew the clientele was already there.

OUR GREATEST CHALLENGE: Then, it was working out the financial part of the sale so everyone was satisfied. Now and in the future, it will be keeping up with the changes in the automotive technology.

HOW WE OVERCAME IT: By listening and cooperating we worked out the financial aspects. Now, we will keep upgrading our automotive scanners, automotive equipment, and the use of technology from the internet to keep our business current.

ADVICE TO OTHERS: Go for your dreams. Then, keep up with all the changes in the automotive field, or any field that you plan to enter.

WHAT IS NEXT: Hard work, plus great service to the customers, with the help of good, reliable employees.

For more info on Wendt Tire & Service, call Butch at 319-478-8022.

Photo by Ellen Young [Tammy & Eugene (Butch) Wendt]

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