A nugget of valuable information picked up at an auto dealers meeting in a major Midwest city has led Holzhauer Motors LTD. of Cherokee to open its own truck center in Cherokee.
Holzhauer Truck Center is scheduled to open in mid-April in the former Brown Chevrolet & Buick facility on South U.S. Highway 59. The new business will feature (Dodge) Ram Commercial medium duty and heavy duty trucks and vans, and employ five full-time people at the start, with plans to expand that workforce to 10 within one year.
The brainchild of Holzhauer owner Dan Winchell, the new truck center came to fruition after Winchell learned at a meeting in Minneapolis that General Motors was discontinuing its production of medium and heavy duty trucks and vans.
"The nearest similar facilities are in Omaha, Sioux Falls, and Forest City, so we are the perfect location and the timing is perfect for Holzhauer's to expand into this market," said an enthused Winchell.
"We're excited to have a dealer in Northwest Iowa to service this part of the country," added Ron Koch, Chrysler Sales Manager for Nebraska and Kansas, who lives in Omaha. "Dan has invested the capital and is a great representative for our brand. This is an incredible opportunity for all of us."
Winchell's commitment to the new enterprise is already quite evident as extensive renovation of the former Brown Chevrolet & Buick property has been under way for the past month.
"Let's just say it's a strong financial commitment," said Winchell when asked the cost of the extensive renovation and the retooling of the service work area, including a whopping 52,000-pound portable hoist capable of handling anything up to 18 wheelers and big RV rigs.
"We're equipped to handle light, medium and heavy duty vehicles of all types, and will sell and service Ram Commercial vehicles of all sizes," said Winchell, who in the future also plans to venture into the RV markets as well.
After securing the valuable dealership here, Winchell's next move was to call upon a friend and valued Holzhauer customer to come to Cherokee to serve as the new business's Sales & Service Manager. He is Doug Baird of Moville, a master technician and diesel expert steeped in mechanical knowledge from years of working in the industry.
A 1988 graduate of Woodbury Central, Baird graduated from the Diesel Program at Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City, worked as Master Service Tech at Heisterkamp LTD. in Onawa from 1989-97, then at Diesel Specialists in Sioux City as Service Manager and Tech from 1997 to current.
"This is a great opportunity for me and I look forward to meeting and working with customers throughout the Cherokee area," said Baird. "My family has always traded with Holzhauer's and we know Dan runs a super organization."
Baird will continue to live on the family farm south of Moville with his wife Erin and daughter Camrin, age six, and commute to Cherokee.
Baird's main hobby is tractor pulling throughout the Midwest, where he operates an 8200 Superstock Case-International.
Among regular customers for Ram Commercial medium and heavy duty trucks and vans are utility and construction companies, cities and counties, state fleets, lumber yards, railroads, tire centers, wreckers, fire departments, regional transit, etc.
Winchell said the new business will offer courtesy cars for all customers to use while their rigs are being serviced. This will allow the visitors to access the stores, restaurants, and other points of interest in Cherokee while in town.
He also insists on using all local contractors for the renovations being done at the new business.
"Like Holzhauer's, our new Truck Center is locally owned and operated," proudly stated Winchell. "We're more than happy to give back to this wonderful community in any way we can. We wouldn't have it any other way."