Herington says good-bye to Tri-County after 53 years

Nicole Rogers

Herington says good-bye to Tri-County after 53 years

4 min.
April 29, 2022

By Nicole Rogers

OWEN-WITHEE - On April 23, Larry Herington held his final Customer Appreciation Open House at Tri-County Equipment. On April 21, Herington officially sold the business to Elmer Burkholder and Wesley Rissler. Herington wanted to say thank you to all the people who supported this business over the last 53 years. Those attending enjoyed a delicious lunch which included pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, potato salad, pickles, chips, coleslaw and a choice of 30 home-made pies provided by the friends and family of the new owners.

Tri-County History

Larry’s parents Agnes and Harley Herington started Tri-County Equipment formerly named Northern Freeport Equipment Company in the early 1960s. In 1969 Larry and Diane Herington joined the family business. In1978, Larry bought the company and the new corporation Tri-County Equipment Company was formed. In October of 1993 the business was expanded to another location in Athens and closed about 12 years ago. Tri-County sold and serviced silo equipment for Jamesway and later Patz. The company eventually expanded to other equipment lines including snow removal, lawn and garden.

When asked what are some good memories of Tri-County, Herington responded thoughtfully, “The people... and I am so fortunate to have good people coming in, I know the Lord blessed me to have these people come forward,” he said gratefully as new owner Elmer Burkholder bounded in with nine-month-old granddaughter Jolene in his arms.

Burkholder said he was excited for this new adventure in retail. “Yeah, I have never been in the retail business, wholesaling - with Cloverdale Warehouse in Curtiss but not in retailing.” Larry added that Cloverdale Wholesale was sold to Walnut Creek which is a brand name frequently found at Martin’s Fresh Market in Owen.

When asked about future plans for Tri-County Burkholder replied, “We want to bring in more lines as time goes on. I would like to bring in a compact line of small tractors. Lawn and garden is what we have in mind,”he said.

Burkholder has eight children and 21 grandchildren, Right now his son-in-law and business partner Wesley and daughter Lorraine will be working with the company. Loraine said she may help with the computer work and bookkeeping until they find someone else or Wesley takes it over. Since she has a new little one, she said she might help with cleaning which would be a more flexible schedule for a young mother.

Transition into retirement

Retirement will not be immediate for the Heringtons. “Right now it won’t be looking very different for him, he will be helping out with the transition,” said Larry’s Diane. “Yeah, I will be helping out a little bit and then when they give me my fish pole, I know it’s time to get out of here,”Larry added. “Like I said before, the ‘people’ is what I am going to miss, butwe are social butterflies so we will be around.”

Diane said she will not renew her realty license and at the end of the year retire and then they hope to become snowbirds.

Handing over the Tri-County reins from one family to another family seems to be a good fit and makes the future hopeful. The Heringtons will rest a little easier in their retirement, as Larry said earlier, “it is a blessing from the Lord that this family came forward.”

This article was orginally reported by
Nicole Rogers

Nicole Rogers, lives in Owen, WI, and is the co-editor for the Sentinel & Rural News.