The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

March 19, 2014

Zins, among oldest Deere dealers, is closing

Nicollet dealership has served farmers for more than a century


While Zins got his first contract with Deere and Co. in 1899, it was 19 years later that Deere purchased the Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Company in Waterloo, Iowa, and tractors became part of the John Deere line.

John C. died in 1927. Ed Zins, and his uncle, George Zins, bought out John's wife, Lena, to continue the business.

Ed Zins' son, Paul, began working at Zins Implement in 1967 when he was 29. Just a couple of months after he returned to Zins Implement, his father was killed in a car accident.

In 2002, Paul decided to semi-retire. His sons, Paul Mike and Kurt, began taking over the business and continue there today.

In 1979 they moved out of their original downtown location and opened on the north edge of town. The original building remains.

Kurt Zins said one of the biggest changes in the business has been the sheer size of the equipment and their computerized complexity.

"Diagnostics is a huge part of it today. In the old days you knew it was broke, now it's something in the software, in the wiring, and it can take a long time to figure that out. It's a lot more sophisticated. The mechanics have to be good fix-it guys and computer guys, too."

Kibble Equipment has been expanding in southern Minnesota in recent years. Two Kibble brothers started Mankato Implement and Kibble Equipment and began acquiring other dealerships. Last spring they merged as Kibble Equipment.

Kibble is now one of the largest John Deere dealer groups in the U.S. and Canada.


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