PENDLETON — Pendleton resident and current Pendleton Town Council member Mike Romack started a farm implement business on the west side of town in 1996. After 20 years, Romack retired from the business, which he sold in 2011, but continued to work at until late last year. The company conducted an open house for him at the store on Friday, Jan. 20.
Below are some question posed to Romack (pictured in white sweater above) as he was asked to reflect on his decades in business.
Q — What made you decide to open your own business?
A — I had worked in the industry since 1976, and I had always wanted to take my experience and put it to use. I had bookkeeping, sales and management experience.
Q — What made you choose Pendleton?
A — The territory that included Pendleton was made available by the Ford New Holland Co.
Q — What were the first few years of business operation like — did you have any memorable challenges, successes and/or failures?
A — Trying to establish business with farmers and other customers with the New Holland brand was difficult because of the strong competitive dealerships in the area. We had success in the compact tractor market but failure trying to make inroads in the high horsepower market and combines. So we concentrated on our successes.
Q — What is your proudest achievement?
A — Hiring good employees. Two of the current employees have been with me and the current organization for 20 years. Also, I mentored four young men who now hold sales and management positions in large corporations.
Q — What did you like most about running your own business?
A — Being the boss — “the buck stops here.” Being responsible for the success or failures.
Q — What did you like least?
A — Being the boss — “the buck stops here.” Being responsible for the lives of 10 to 12 employees who depend on me.
Q — Is there anything you would have done differently?
A — I have no regrets. I have always wanted to be a farm equipment dealer, and I was one. I was able to succeed and sell the business when the time was right.
Q — How is the business climate different today from 20 years ago?
A — When we opened the dealership, the farm economy was on a downswing. We chose to sell to weekend farmers, property owners and contractors. In 2008, the farm economy began to swing upward, and the housing went (in the) opposite direction. Today there is consolidation of both the dealerships and the farmers, every year fewer customers that farm larger farms.
Q — What are your plans in retirement?
A — To spend more time with my wife, children and grandchildren and maybe do some traveling in the United States.
Q — Is there anything else you’d like to add?
A — I have been blessed to do the things I have always wanted to do, and my wife has followed me for 48 years doing it. What more could I ask for?
Name: Mike Romack
Family: Wife, Nancy; children Jennifer and husband Brad, Scott and wife Christie; grandchildren Marcus, 14, and Kaitlyn, 12 Emma 8, Noah 5, Allen And Matthew 11
Business name: Bane-Welker Equipment