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Berry Tractor Celebrates 50th Anniversary in Kansas

Tue June 05, 2007 - Midwest Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Berry Tractor & Equipment Company is celebrating its 50th anniversary in Kansas. In 1957, Fred Berry Jr. and his brother, Paul, established the Berry Tractor & Equipment Company, formerly known as the Sam H. Denney Road Machinery Company, headquartered in Wichita, Kan.

Berry Tractor’s roots date back to 1928 in St. Louis. Fred and Paul’s father, Fred Berry Sr., had owned a farm equipment distribution company in St. Louis from 1928 to 1957. The opening of the new Wichita company proved to be the beginning of a journey that continues to this day.

Berry Tractor started in 1957 as an International Harvester dealer in Wichita with branches in Garden City and Russell, and it still operates out of the same Wichita location — 930 S. West Street on Tractor Row — as it did in 1957. Kansas, a large grader market, has the second highest mileage of “unpaved but maintained” roads in the country. This led Berry Tractor to take advantage of the opportunity by becoming the largest Galion motorgrader dealer in the country, and later one of the largest Komatsu motorgrader dealers.

Berry Tractor continued to grow through the 1960s and 1970s, and in 1976, it purchased the International Harvester dealership in Topeka. This gave the company all of Kansas except for metropolitan Kansas City. In 1984 the Springfield, Mo., territory was acquired.

During the 1980s, International Harvester struggled to survive and eventually went out of business. Berry Tractor took on the Komatsu line of heavy construction equipment in 1989. Berry Tractor’s ability to provide customer support made it a viable distributor partner for Komatsu in Kansas and Missouri, and in 1995, it was named the number one service provider in the nation.

From the beginning the company had a policy of charitable giving and community service. Over the years, Fred Berry has served as chairman of the United Way as well as on the board of many nonprofit organizations such as Heartspring, the Wesley Medical Endowment Foundation, and the Center for Entrepreneurship at Wichita State University. With a desire to support those causes on a consistent basis, the Berry Foundation was created in the 1970s, and distributed more than $100,000 in 2006 to United Ways in seven cities and to many other community agencies.

Berry Tractor is a family and employee owned company emphasizing long-term relationships with customers, employees and suppliers. Fred Berry Jr. continues as chairman, Walter Berry as president of Berry Companies Inc. and Dan Scheer as president of Berry Tractor, now a division of Berry Companies.

Berry Companies has nearly 500 employees with 23 locations in five states.

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