Though the sky was gray and cloudy, spirits were high as the community and employees of Wm. Nobbe & Co., Inc. gathered for the opening of the new corporate office on S. Church Street in Waterloo on Thursday.
The crowd outside gathered around a massive John Deere model 9360R tractor for the ribbon cutting ceremony, consisted of city officials and four generations of Nobbes.
This is just one of the many things that make the company successful: it’s been in the family for more than 100 years.
The opening of this corporate office in the heart of downtown Waterloo marks a significant milestone for the Nobbe family and the company’s employees.
The facility, at 110 S. Church Street, has been a few different things over the years, including a grocery store and a furniture store.
Now, it houses more than a dozen of Wm. Nobbe & Co., Inc.’s employees and has space for training new workers and hosting meetings in spacious conference rooms.
Three Nobbes are stationed there: CEO Tom Nobbe and his sons: Turf and Small Ag Sales Manager Jared Nobbe and Large Ag Sales Manager/Integrated Solutions Brad Nobbe.
The three take great pride in the new office, which is only a few blocks away from where William Nobbe started the company in 1907.
Here, with all the decision-makers in one office, they will have more open communication and be able to meet more regularly to discuss the status of the company.
“This really brings our leadership team together,” Tom said. “We all travel to the different stores, but we’re all here Monday, which gives us a chance to work together better as a team.”
The training and conference rooms enable the team and future employees to meet in a more central location, since the previous training facilities were in Jerseyville.
Jared said they were able to redo the offices at the Route 3 location after moving several of them up into town, giving the dealership more showroom space and larger, more private offices.
The company now has seven locations and serves more than 25 counties in Missouri and Illinois.
In the beginning, brothers William and Henry founded the company, selling several types
of products including John Deere farm machinery and Chevrolet automobiles.
But that branched off, with William going into the automobile business and Henry (Tom’s grandfather) sticking with the agricultural side.
“We’ve watched this grow through four generations of our family,” Jared said. “We always talk about all the changes that have happened in the agricultural industry and how my great-grandpa would’ve been absolutely blown away at the way things are done today.”
Tom attributes the continued success of the company to dedicated employees and loyal customers.
“We’ve worked with generations of both employees and customers,” he said. “We have some employees whose parents worked for us and even four generations of customers as well.”
Jared said sometimes they take it for granted.
“Growing up working out here from third and fourth grade on, you kind of feel like that’s the way it always is, but when you go to John Deere meetings it really sets in,” he said. “It really hits home then.”
Tom said this new corporate office will directly benefit Nobbe customers because when they’re able to do more as a company, they can do more for the customers as well.
“That’s what it’s all about,” he said.
For the future, the company’s goals are to be as progressive as possible.
“We want to be viewed as a John Deere dealer that is interested in getting to the next level,” Brad said. “We want strong partnerships and being on the cutting edge of technology.”
With that in mind, the Nobbes want to be able to maintain the personal ties and connections they have been able to maintain with their customers over the years, and “not just get big to get big,” in the words of Brad.
“We want to be sustainable for another 100 years and be in a good position to serve our customers the way we need to,” Jared said.