Straub closure in Marion reflects slow ag economy

Straub International closed its agriculture equipment dealership in Marion Friday because of a general slowing of business.

President Ron Straub at the Great Bend headquarters office for Straub Inter­na­tional­ said Monday the decisions to close Marion, and six months earlier the Lar­ned facility, were decisions not made lightly.

“These are some historic times we are going through right now, and our company is working our way through them the best way we can,” he said.

The Marion facility has nine employees, he said, and all of them have been offered severance or options to transfer to other stores.

“Some will remain with the company, and others have chosen to pursue other interests,” Straub said.

Two-year adjustment

Straub described a two-year plan to help Marion customers adjust to the change.

“Straub’s will continue to service the Marion store customers from its other locations,” he said about the operations in Salina, Wichita, Hutchinson, Pratt and Great Bend.

The company has service trucks fully equipped to take care of most service needs in the field, he said.

Trained tech­nicians who have computers to communicate with company personnel and the man­u­facturers they serve also will be available to meet customer needs.

“Many of the parts we need are on the trucks, and if needed can be supplied to the technician quickly,” Straub said. “We will offer this service and apply the charges the same as us being in Marion or from the nearest location to the customer.”

In case a piece of equipment would need to go into one of Straub’s service facilities, the truck hauling charges would be the same as if it were in Marion.

“Or if closer from the location of the customer’s choosing,” he added.

Drop boxes

“Straub’s is also placing parts drop boxes in the area to help customers with their parts needs.”

These plans are still being developed, Straub said, and will be provided based on the need in the area.

Some boxes could be delivered daily during the week, and others a couple times a week, he said.

In addition to buying, selling and maintenance work on Case IH farm equipment, Straub said acetylene torches and tanks can be refilled.

Until recently, the Marion facility also sold appliances.

Possible buyer

The Marion store is about 16,000 square feet, and someone is interested in acquiring it, Straub said.

“I think it is going to help everybody out,” he said, “but it will be a couple of months just emptying out the facility. It’s not going to happen immediately.”

Changes

Straub said the location closures were necessary for the future of the company.

“We definitely had talks over the past few months about what we have to do to keep this company strong and sustainable,” Straub said.

“One single operation isn’t anything without the whole, and we had to keep the main portion of this company going.”

The same dynamics were present when the company made the decision to close the Larned location.

“The demands from the manufacturers we represent, from the facilities, the inventory, to the training of personnel and all the tools and equipment needed contributed to additional costs,” he said. “The day had come to make the change.”

Straub said for more than 40 years, Straub International has provided farm and ranch necessities and excellent service to the agricultural community.

“We hope this change will allow us to continue doing so by adjusting to a sustainable level in this business climate,” he added.

“We understand these changes are impacting people’s lives and hope everyone can work with us to get to a brighter future.”

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