By: Jerome Lobner
One of Loup City’s longest operating businesses is owned and operated by Diane Loeffelbein. She has the goal “to providing you with the best customer service available”. Diane noted “over the years many farm equipment manufacturers have experienced the highs and the lows in the farm economy” resulting in “changes and mergers that have allowed us to continue to sell equipment and parts to our customers”.
Ken’s Equipment is the last local farm equipment business dedicated to supplying new and used farm equipment, specialized parts and repair. Rueben Cook operated Cook Implement in the 1960’s which became Dorsey-Cook Implement owned by Harold Dorsey and Cook, then owned and operated by Dorsey and Russell Ericson. In 1971 Kenneth Loeffelbein bought the dealership and renamed the business Tri-Valley Equipment. The name Ken’s Equipment, Inc came about in 1980. Diane became the owner and manager of the business following the death of her husband Ken.
The staff for Ken’s include Krista Slobaszewski Assistant Manager, Dan Day Sales Manager, Jeff Phillips Parts Manager and Tim Ingranham Service Tech.
The business has an ideal location at the intersections of Highway 92, 58 and 10. The location provides a large lot and parking area. Over the past 10 years extensive remodeling to the original buildings included a new sales room and parts area finished in 2010 and a service shop completed in 2016. Loeffelbein noted “the old buildings had served their purpose and became too costly to maintain”. Another factor leading to the need for new construction was “the size of machinery and the amount of parts inventory needed to service the many changes in the industry”.
Loeffelbein said “We have been here for many years and have access and information on a variety of ag-related needs and services”. She said the industry is “always changing programs and deals on equipment” and “we are always ready to deal”. Ken’s offer brand name products from Massey Ferguson, Hesston, Sunflower, White Planters, Schuler Feed Wagons, Westfield Augers and more.
She noted “the biggest changes we have seen has been the use of technology. This was a boon for our parts inventory”. She noted agriculture equipment is in the forefront with “lots of changes that make farm machinery easier to operate and be more efficient”,
The business sells several products many people in the community may not be aware of. Ken’s Equipment offers a line of lawn mowers, including rider mowers, and a line of snow blowers.
Loeffelbein and her employees are active with the Loup City Area Chamber of Commerce. One of the major events they sponsor and help man is the Kiddie Tractor Pull at Polish Days. Over the years many local youth have competed in the event and went on to compete and medal at the Nebraska State Fair in the contest.
Ken’s is busiest during the growth seasons and sets their operating hours accordingly. Diane note “the COVID-19 pandemic has not affected the daily business greatly due to the fact that we have customers that respected the personal space rules”. She does feel “the damages being done to the economy, especially the farm commodity area, is still cause for great concern”. She added “our foreign markets need to be stabilized” to bring agriculture back. She noted “there needs to be a realization that without ag producers and the businesses that support them we do not have a food chain” ending with “we are essential workers:”