What a question! At first glance the answer is a resounding, ‘YES’. Sitting smack-dab in the middle of agriculture, of course Virden needs a machinery dealer. Maybe several.
However, that has not been the trend of late and in Virden, Morris Sales and Service appears to be about to close completely.
Although parent company Morris Implements has filed for bankruptcy protection as of last December, when you walk into the Virden dealership on the south side of the TransCanada Highway, there’s staff there to serve you.
But, the inventory appears to have dwindled. A truck and flat deck sits outside, as if waiting to clear the lot.
What will come out at the community information meeting scheduled for next Wednesday evening in Virden? Is there yet hope for a dealership in Virden?
Travelling the country, it’s eye-opening to see how few implement dealers there are in small-town prairie Canada. Keep in mind these towns are surrounded by fields of grain, oilseeds, hay, and fenced cattle pastures.
Hundreds of dealerships and repair shop staff used to make their living in places like Miniota, Hamiota, Decker, Harding, and of course Virden, serving agricultural customers.
Now, to do their business, some farmers have to travel many miles to buy parts. If the break is bad enough, they have to haul equipment on a flat deck to a distant dealer.
Agriculture has moved in the direction of large, corporate enterprise where operators may never pay off the huge equipment they use. Rather it is swapped for new ever couple of years.
Farmers, at one time bought and paid for equipment, servicing and repairing it for years. A swather, combine or tractor could last … years.
Trades and purchases were made to accommodate the need for bigger and better and the trend to larger, uninterrupted fields continues to be the mantra of modern agriculture.
But here, around Virden, where oil has supported farming for years, that may not apply to all the farm operations. While there are large corporate farms, there are also moderate sized operations and property owners who love their land but make up their cash flow with off-farm industry.
If ever there was a place where a short-line business with moderate sized equipment and a good repair shop is needed, it would be in a place like Virden.
A highway location is the ideal spot to line up your wares.