Two-ring auction to take place Tuesday, July 13
By Kristen Miller
COKATO, MN After 36 years in the tractor parts business, Elroy Dahlin will auction off thousands of parts and equipment that has made up Cokato Tractor Salvage.
Though he is not calling this retirement, it is a way for him to slow down a bit, Dahlin said.
“I’m still going to be around, just not full time,” he said.
Dahlin opened up Cokato Tractor Salvage with his wife Betty and Dennis Lundeen in 1974.
It began with used tractor parts and then grew into new and used, along with rebuilt parts and the services that came along with it.
Currently, the Dahlins have five separate departments:
• the hardware store;
• alternator, starter, and generator repair service;
• small engine repair;
• rental of tools and equipment; and
• the tractor parts.
The tractor parts will be the only department that will be eliminated in an effort to expand the hardware store and the repair and service department.
Thousands of tractor parts and related equipment will be auctioned off Tuesday, July 13 beginning at 9 a.m. by Lundeen Auction.
Up until three years ago, tractor parts was 100 percent of the business.
Then, in 2007, Dahlin’s Home and Farm built on to Cokato Tractor Salvage.
By eliminating thousands of parts, “this will allow the hardware store to branch out into more of the building,” said owner and Elroy’s son, Kurt Dahlin.
After the auction, the Dahlins are looking into adding online sales of parts and equipment including everything sold as part of the hardware store, Kurt explained. Parts can also be ordered upon request.
Having turned 70, age may have something to do with Elroy’s decision, but it’s also due to the fact that dairy and cattle operations are dwindling, he said. Especially in the surrounding area, which is becoming more residential than farm, Kurt added.
Over the years, Elroy has provided parts throughout the world, having shipped parts as far away as Australia, New Zealand, and Ecuador.
In fact, he drew 80 percent of his business from outside a 10-mile radius, Elroy said.
He remembers sending parts to a farmer in France, who in return, sent his payment in euros.
On the auction block
Come Tuesday, July 13, thousands of tractor parts and related equipment will be on the auction block including vintage parts, parts manuals, antiques and collectibles, shop equipment, and tractors.
“It’s going to be a big day,” said Derek Lundeen, auctioneer.
One of the items to be auctioned is a sign Kurt found in the basement of the former Cokato Hardware store.
The sign reads: “Farm Machine Headquarters, McCormick-Deering, Titrud Bros. Hardware - Cokato.”
It once belonged to Carl and Victor Titrud, when they owned Titrud Bros. Hardware store from 1905 to 1929.