A trusted partner in our community.
Our history dates back to 1947 when the Owens Brothers and the Johnston Brothers formed a company called Owens & Johnston in Eston, Saskatchewan. One year later they were joined in the partnership by Louis Sweitzer and Owens Johnston & Sweitzer Ltd. was born. The company held dealerships for Massey Harris Farm Equipment and Chrysler Automobiles. They were also bulk fuel distributors for Anglo American (Purity 99) and operated both bulk and retail fuel outlets.
In 1951 the company was provided the opportunity to become a General Motors dealer for the area. They were granted the Chevrolet Oldsmobile and Chevrolet Truck franchise for Eston. Since Louis always had an appreciation for GM vehicles this change of loyalties was a natural fit. It was also this year the company was appointed to represent Elephant Brand Fertilizers in the area. The company soon established a reputation of Fair Dealing and Excellent Service in both the automotive and Agricultural Equipment lines. These principles were a firm foundation for future growth of our company.
The 1950’s saw many exciting vehicles from GM as evidenced today when we attend antique car shows from that era. Many Classic GM vehicles are still the show stoppers for todays car enthusiasts. Massey Harris was enjoying a very innovative time in their history as well. In 1944 at the request of the US War Production Administration, Massey Harris formed the M-H Harvest Brigade in support of the war effort. They built 500 Massey–Harris No. 21 self propelled combines and travelled a 1500 mile route from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border as wheat crops ripened. This feat was the beginning of Massey’s leadership in self propelled combine technology.
The next decade brought many new innovations in combines and Massey Harris led the way with new ideas. Louis Sweitzer had a natural understanding of combines and how they worked and he was well known as someone who could make a combine perform to its maximum. His opinions were sought after by many Massey-Harris engineers and servicemen and we are proud of his contributions.
In 1955 Owens Johnston & Sweitzer brought in the first carload of Anhydrous Ammonia to the Canadian Prairies. The company acquired a line of application equipment and custom applied the ammonia for area producers. In 1957 the Johnston Brothers sold their interest in the company to Louis Sweitzer and the Owens Brothers. The company became known as Owens & Sweitzer Ltd. At around this same time they also sold the fuel business to an employee Robert Gourley. Staff was added and the company continued to grow. Good service support has always been the number one goal of the company and it became well known for its supply of service parts for the growing population of Massey equipment. Massey Harris officially became Massey Ferguson in 1957.
The 1960’s saw the company represent a growing number of innovative short line manufacturers to complement the major lines. Versatile Mfg., Doepker Ind. were valuable additions to the stable. In 1964 the company built a new service facility for equipment repair and setup. It was a 4000 sq. ft. facility which helped us to continue providing first class support to our customers. Louis Sweitzer continued his leadership of the company until ill health forced his retirement in 1967. Hayden Owens took over operation of the company at this time.
In 1972 Don Sweitzer (Louis’ youngest son), Gordon Grimes and Fred Dudley purchased the shares of the company and continued operation as Owens & Sweitzer (1972) Ltd. By this time the company had been granted the Pontiac Buick GMC franchise to expand their presence in the automobile business. This was a period of major advancement for the company. Agriculture in West Central Saskatchewan was booming and Owens & Sweitzer (1972) Ltd. was successful as well.
The company worked hard to advance the quality staff to handle the growing demands of the marketplace. Training and equipment was continually upgraded and inventory levels were increased to allow us to maintain our reputation of stocking whatever was needed. Having outgrown our facility we built a new dealership in 1977. This 8800 sq. ft. facility was another commitment to our growing customer base and allowed us to continue providing the superior service they were entitled to. Major lines added at this time were Flexi Coil, MacDon and Leon’s Mfg. Always adding more and better products to our lineup. After 28 years in the automobile business Fred Dudley sold his interest to Doug Schneider and Doug became GM Sales Manager for the company.
In 1984 an employee, Glenn Hartsook, purchased the shares of Doug Schneider and took over the role of GM Sales Manager, a role he maintained until 1991 when Gordon Grimes retired after 38 years of service to our customers. At that time Glenn took over the position of Service Manager from Gordon. Don Sweitzer purchased Gordon’s shares and continued to lead the company. The 1990’s saw Massey Ferguson enter the Rotary Combine Market. The MF Rotary is a simple design that is well suited to the dryland farming of the region. We have been very happy with the performance of these machines. This was also the era of Agco Corp. taking control of Massey Ferguson and many other lines in the worldwide farm equipment business. This was a positive event for MF and has resulted in unprecedented growth for the company. Morris Ind. was the next addition to our growing number of equipment lines. Morris was well established in our area and was a welcome addition to our lineup.
In 1996 the company’s equipment service shop was struck by fire. Although the building was not completely lost there was considerable damage. It was time for another big decision for management. The building was repairable but not really adequate for the size of equipment we were selling at the time. A decision was made to remove the structure and build a new 8000 sq. ft. facility to accommodate the larger equipment we were marketing. This has proven to be a valuable addition to our organization and allows us to continue the tradition of full service support for our customers.
The 2000’s were exciting times for agriculture and all its related industries. Farm size grew rapidly and equipment requirements grew with them. We were fortunate to have been a part of these great times in our region. Buhler Versatile re-established itself in our marketplace and their large 4WD tractors became a perfect fit for producers in the region. The Versatile line of reliable high horsepower tractors have become a huge part of the success of our dealership. 2008 saw Glenn Hartsook leave our dealership after 26 years of service. His shares were purchased by an employee, Cordell Goheen, who fills the roll of Director and General Manager. Devery Sweitzer (Don’s Son) joined the dealership full time in 2009. In 2011 he purchased shares and is now a Director Sales Manager for the company. In late 2011 the company was one of six Saskatchewan dealerships to be awarded the franchises for Challenger and Rogator. This put us in a great position to look after the needs of the large acre farming operations of our region. Challenger and Rogator meet and exceed all the needs of the largest producers.