If you’ve travelled around the Midwest, you may have seen signs for Butler Machinery. While you may have known it specializes in heavy equipment, you may not have known that this expanding company has its roots right here in North Dakota.
In 1955, Francis J. Butler, a former contractor from Grand Forks, became a Caterpillar equipment dealer. He began with very small facilities in Fargo and Grand Forks, providing service in eastern North Dakota and in Clay County, Minnesota. In 1957, Butler Machinery erected a larger facility on Main Street in Fargo, which was replaced in 1986 by the current facility on I-29.
Butler knew that farmers everywhere needed equipment, so in 1964 he expanded to western North Dakota, buying Schultz Machinery stores in Minot and Bismarck. A new Bismarck building was completed in 1976 and the current Minot building in 1978. In 1969, Francis passed the torch to his son Matt Butler.
Matt shared his father’s vision of expansion and decided to go outside the state. In December of 1988, Butler Machinery acquired the assets of Kearns Machinery Company in South Dakota. This move gave them stores in Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Aberdeen, greatly increasing the company size.
In 1998 Matt passed the position of CEO to his son Dan. Dan broadened the company focus beyond heavy equipment when he opened a training facility in Fargo in January of 2000. This space provides operators training for the increasingly complex heavy machinery.
In 2012, Butler Machinery took another growing step when it purchased AGCO’s challenger and application lines in Nebraska. They opened a parts division in Kearney and built a store in Fremont. Their most recent expansion occurred on this date in 2015 when they acquired Henkens Equipment in Chadron, Nebraska, making this the third full-service location in the state.
Butler remains privately held, with several hundred employees … a strong company that began humbly in North Dakota over 60 years ago.
Dakota Datebook written by Lucid Thomas