(Posted Jan. 29, 2020)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
After 34 years of buying, selling, trading and auctioning off agricultural equipment at U.S. Route 42 and I-70, Tri-Green Interstate Equipment is moving to a new location. Taking its spot is a company that specializes in semi-truck repair, service, parts, and sales.
Tri-Green’s owners, Connie Ballah and Judy Green, sold 35 of their 86 acres to Vander Haag’s Inc., an Iowa-based company that plans to open its eighth location at the site by late spring. The 35 acres is currently home to Tri-Green’s auction lot.
“They walked in and gave us an offer we couldn’t refuse,” Ballah said of Vander Haag’s owners.
The two entities closed on the sale on Jan. 24. Tri-Green plans to fully vacate the property, located at 1499 U.S. Rte. 42 NE, London, by March 31. Tri-Green’s new location will be 856 and 919 State Rte. 56 SW, three miles south of I-70.
“We’re not going out of business. We’re just switching gears to buying, selling and trading,” Ballah said.
Tri-Green will be out of the auction game following a final auction at its current site on Feb. 8. The sale will mark the 708th auction the company has held since Bill Green bought the property and set up his children in business there, Ballah said of her late father.
Vander Haag’s plans to keep and renovate some of the existing buildings and add others, according to Dave Van Tol, Vander Haag’s vice president.
In business since 1939, Vander Haag’s is headquartered in Spencer, Iowa, and operates three other facilities in Iowa, two in South Dakota, one in Missouri and one in Indiana. The Madison County location is the furthest east the company has gone.
“We have had Ohio on the radar for a few years,” Van Tol said. “Indiana was our most recent addition. We knew we were going further east after that.”
Van Tol said the company searched for a while before settling on the site at U.S. Route 42 and I-70.
“It’s not in town, but it’s close to town. We like to be on the west side. And there seems to be a lot of truck and trailer activity on that side of town,” Van Tol said of what attracted Vander Haag’s to the location.
The facility will include a service center, offering everything from engine and transmission diagnostics and complete overhauls to frame fabrications and cosmetic repairs. They also will sell used, rebuilt and new truck parts, as well as pre-owned trucks, new and used trailers, and construction equipment.
The company plans to hire at least 25 people locally to staff the site. According to company literature, the average wage is $25 per hour.
Vander Haag’s also plans to get involved in the community, participating in local events and encouraging employees to give of their time and talents to charitable causes.
“We’re heavily involved in all of our communities and will continue to be in Madison County, similar to what Tri-Green has been,” Van Tol said.
Ballah was complimentary of the Vander Haag’s organization.
“It’s a family-run business. They are very community supportive. They’re just really great people,” Ballah said.