Wells Implement, Inc. is a third-generation, family-owned ag equipment dealership founded in 1940 by Arthur B. Wells. The International dealer had gone out of business in Plymouth, and Arthur had the opportunity to rent the building for $7/month, and eventually purchase it for $900. A.B. began his new business by selling the remaining International parts that were left in the store. The first contract, however, was with Allis-Chalmers for a car of 5 combines, totalling $150 in freight.
As the depression of the 30's came to an end, business increased rapidly. Since most farming was done by horses and a few tractors and combines like the 60 AC, A.B. took in horses, mules, cattle, and old machinery on trade. A one-cylinder IHC Mogul, John Deere Waterboy, Avery, and other antique machinery were some of the items that came in on trade. All machinery repairs were done through the International Harvester Company until 1945. I.H.C. then wanted to make a contract, but A.B. refused since he had Allis-Chalmers and other short lines.
In early 1944, John Gottschlag went to A.B. wanting to sell his hardware and furniture store across the street. The whole building and contents were purchased for $7,500. A.B.'s wife Merna helped run the store as well as raise their two children. Running two businesses proved to be too much, however, and the hardware store was sold to Elmer Milius, an employee. Milius Hardware is still thriving today across the street from Wells Implement.
Just after selling the store to Milius, the Endicott brickyard went out of business due to hard times after the crash. A.B. bought 5000 tiles at 5 cents each with which he built a new store. The old implement store was torn down, and the lumber was used to erect the new building. The new structure, A.B. Wells & Son, was completed in the fall of 1945 and was 75 feet wide and 100 feet deep - the first building in Plymouth of its kind. Being in business with the new structure made it possible to expand. A.B. contracted with Gehl, New Idea, and later with New Holland. In 1948 Allis-Chalmers purchased the Gleaner Combine Co., which propelled a boom in the business.
When the war ended in 1945, the rush for machinery began. Through an iron company with which A.B. did business, word was out that a company in Savannah, Missouri was buying up steel and making discs. A.B. and Merna jumped in the car and drove to Savannah. There they found a man in a a small building making 12- and 15-foot disks with folding wings using John Deere bearings. A.B. ordered 10, which sold like wildfire. No other implement dealer anywhere had disks, so farmers came from near and far once the word got out. Over the course of 2 years, 850 disks were sold.
Word came again that a company in Taylorville, Illinois were making a type of harrow called the Hunmer harrrow. A.B. and Merna went once again and found Mr. Oster, a man making harrows in a former John Deere dealership that had gone out of business for lack of harrows. Once A.B. ordered them, they again sold like wildfire. Incidentally, one fine day Mr. Oster flew to Plymouth in his airplane to see A.B. and thank him for his business.
Arthur Paul Jr., the son of A.B. and Merna, had been drafted into the army during WWII. While in the service, he repaired tanks which gave him some idea of farm machinery. When Junior arrived home
he started working in the store and showed a knack for machinery.
(A.B. stated that he both swapped out a blown engine and installed a new one all in one day.) In 1964 A.B. retired and sold the business to Junior and his wife, Alverta, and the business name changed
to Wells Implement.
Over the years many things changed, including the Allis-Chalmers name. Allis-Chalmers became Allis, Deutz-Allis, and finally AGCO. The colors changed as well, going from a bright orange to a bright green, then back again, and then to red in 2012.
Arthur B. Wells died in 1995, living to be nearly 101 years old.
After Junior and Alverta retired, their children: Pam, Greg & Mark took over the business. The business keeps expanding constantly with many additions and improvements. Stop in to see us if you are in the neighborhood!