Miller Sellner adds Rabe to sites

FAIRMONT — Miller Sellner, a Case IH dealer based in Sleepy Eye, has acquired Rabe International of Fairmont.

The addition makes Miller Sellner a four-store location, with sites in Sleepy Eye, Bingham Lake, Slayton and Fairmont.

“We’re excited to be part of the Fairmont community; everyone has been so welcoming,” said Tricia Ericksen, one of eight co-owners of Miller Sellner. “Fairmont is actually the biggest town were are in now.”

Ericksen said Rabe International appealed to Miller Sellner because the businesses are so similar, offering the same Case IH line of tractors.

Miller Sellner also sells Can-AM and Ski-Doo power sports products, along with Cub Cadet and Grasshopper lawn mowers, and Geringhoff cornheads. In addition to Case IH, Rabe sells Kinze, Bush Hog, Yetter, Aluma, Art’s Way, Geringhoff and Country Clipper products, among others.

“[Rabe International] is very identical to our other locations,” Ericksen said. “They have the same philosophy in how they treat employees and customers.”

She said Miller Sellner was aware of and familiar with Rabe International as a competitor through the years.

Ericksen said Miller Sellner has invited all 17 employees at the Fairmont location to remain with the company. They bring the total employment at Miller Sellner to 85 people.

Miller Sellner’s roots go back to 1926, when Evan Implement was founded. When owner Art Miller retired in 1963, International Harvester insisted that the dealership move to Sleepy Eye. Glennis “Bud” Miller, Art’s son, and Norb Sellner, a longtime mechanic at Evan Implement, went into business together in a new building on the south edge of Sleepy Eye.

In 1997, Miller Sellner Implement merged with Darfur Implement. Darfur Implement facilities in Darfur and Windom were consolidated. In 1998, a new facility was built in Bingham Lake. In 2012, Miller Sellner Implement and Equipment acquired Slayton International. It acquired Rabe International in Fairmont on April 1.

Rabe International in Fairmont was a Case-owned company store prior to 1994, when Kevin Rabe took ownership. He passed away in 1997, and John Oothoudt and Dave Baarson became the local owners. They had a group of partners in Nebraska.

Oothoudt said Thursday he sees the acquisition by Miller Sellner as a positive, given the close proximity of the other Miller Sellner stores. He cited logistical problems working with dealers five hours away in Nebraska. He also said he sees opportunities for better sales support with Miller Sellner.