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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Stieneke Ford shuts it down

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

There were just a few cars left on the lot at Stieneke Ford last week, and they, too, will soon be gone. Photo by Dan Whitney
HOLSTEIN - When Stieneke Ford in Holstein closed its business on January 24, it brought an end to more than 60 years of having a Ford Motors dealership in the town.

Thorpe-Baumann Ford began business in the 1940s. Stieneke Ford provided the area with new and used car sales and full mechanic service for 25 years, since Jeff and Sue Stieneke purchased the business in 1984.

Sue's sister and her husband, Carl and Pauline Schoer, bought into the business in 1985, and the business was incorporated as Stieneke Ford in 1990. Schoer bought her sister out of the business three years ago.

Al Johnson, a Galva native who has served as the General Manager at Stieneke Ford for the last 3 1/2 years, has been involved in the car business for 24 years. He lived and worked in Denver, Colorado for most of those years, before moving back to Iowa about five years ago. Johnson worked at the former Ford dealer in Moville for two years prior to his coming to Holstein.

He said that sales were still pretty good at Stieneke Ford, but the "profit margin was way down," and that brought about the decision to close up shop in January. At the time, Stieneke Ford employed a detailer, four technicians, a service manager, parts manager, the general manager, owner, and a part-time high school student on the weekends. Most of the employees were not Holstein residents, traveling from Aurelia, Alta, Mapleton, and Correctionville to work.

One of the technicians has since found employment in Spencer, and two former Stieneke employees are now employed in Sioux City. Four employees remain at Stieneke, finishing up business. There are still a few used cars on the lot, but they will be sold at auction soon. Johnson said he hoped to have the business completely closed the first or second week of March, but said it all depends on how quickly they can get parts returned to Ford Motors, which in turn is related to how quickly Ford gets him the things he needs to proceed.

As for the future, Johnson said that dealing new vehicles is difficult, due in part to widespread internet access, where customers can go online and choose the vehicle they want.

Al Johnson has served as General Manager of Stieneke Ford for the last 3 1/2 years. Photo by Dan Whitney
One thing people cannot get online, however, is service for their vehicles, and he hopes the business can be sold to someone who wants to start a business servicing vehicles, with perhaps a few used cars also available for sale.

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