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Two family-owned, full-service John Deere dealer groups — with locations in nearby Tipton and Columbia — have announced plans to merge their businesses.

Sydenstricker Implement Co. and Wm. Nobbe & Co. have joined forces to form Sydenstricker-Nobbe Partners. The combined dealer groups anticipate officially beginning joint operation of 26 Missouri and Illinois dealerships in January 2020. In total, Sydenstricker-Nobbe Partners will service 80 counties — 51 in Missouri and 29 in Illinois — with production and precision agriculture, small agriculture, construction and turf and utility needs.

Lee Ann Sydenstricker, of Sydenstricker-Nobbe Partners, said the merger has been in the works for a while, with discussion initially revolving around the two groups' Missouri stores. Until the merger, the St. Louis market serviced by Wm. Nobbe & Co. was the largest metro area with multiple dealers but no joint-dealer group. For about six months, Sydenstricker said the two parties have been working to align processes for offerings like product warranties, among other logistics.

In regards to how the merger came about, Sydenstricker said both parties' aligning values made sense.

"Our companies are very like-minded and both family-owned. We wanted to keep things that way," Sydenstricker said.

Sydenstricker said the merger should result in no difference in operations at the local level. The merger doesn't create or eliminate jobs or affect what services are offered. However, she said customers will potentially notice a benefit of better pricing due to larger-volume discounts and a larger inventory of newer equipment and parts. This is in part because dealers will be able to search across a larger number of locations.

Sydenstricker said there's a benefit for employees as well — with a larger organization and deeper bench of talent and resources, she said there will be more mentors and a wider variety of opportunities for employees to take advantage of.

Sydenstricker said the merger also presents the opportunity to expand on the customer training the dealer groups have already been offering.

"Farming operations are getting bigger, so we can invest more in certain technologies and training that we wouldn't have been able to before," Sydenstricker said.

Customer training for the dealers so far has mostly been geared toward larger ag groups, but Sydenstricker said the merger can potentially allow for some clinics for hobby farmers and large property owners locally, covering topics such as the basics of maintenance and options for attachments and other functions of John Deere machines that customers may not already be aware of.

With Columbia being Sydenstricker's newest location, she said there is a smaller ag turf customer base there, and it's a location they've pinpointed as one they'd like to get more larger properties in for clinics.

In keeping with a largely unchanged experience from location to location, Sydenstricker said customers should expect local customer appreciation promotions to remain consistent. In the coming months, Tipton customers can look forward to Ladies Night Nov. 21 and continued community support for FFA and 4-H. Columbia's Ladies Night is scheduled for Nov. 19. Both locations can expect to play host to Santa Day in December, which takes place across all locations on the same day, Dec. 7.

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