Our History

 

“There is nothing more American than a tractor and implement dealer” - Joseph Berchtold

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1910 2

Joseph Berchtold was born in 1870 to German immigrant parents farming in Iowa. In addition to produce and hardware, he began selling a variety of farm implements and tractors. In 1916, 46 year old Joseph married Wilhemina Westlund (Minnie), a Swedish immigrant from Finland.

1910 - 1919
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1920 1929

On July 3, 1919, Joseph contracted to build the current Berchtold Equipment Co. facility at 330 East 19th Street, one block west of the original location.

During the mid 1920’s, Joseph changed the name of the business to Berchtold Grain and Implement House and became a dealer for Minneapolis Moline, a pioneer of the cab-enclosed tractor, a relationship which lasted more than 30 years. And crucially 1922 saw the birth of Joseph and Minnie's only child who would become known to all by his initials, "E.G."

1920 - 1929
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1930 1940

Berchtold Grain and Implement House survives the Great Depression. And, in 1939, E.G. graduated from Kern County Union High School.

1930 - 1939
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1940 1950

In 1943, E.G. graduated from UCLA, and then served in World War II as a naval officer in the Pacific.

In 1945, E.G. returned from the war to assume management of the business from his 75-year-old and ailing father.

In 1947, E.G. married Frankie Franklin who had recently arrived in Bakersfield from rural Illinois.

In 1948, Stephen was born.

In 1949, Frankie began assisting E.G. with the management and operation of the growing business.

1940 - 1949
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1950 1959

The 1950's saw the passing of Joseph Berchtold in 1950 and the birth of two more Berchtold sons; Mark in 1951 and Geoffrey (Jeff) in 1957.

In 1957, E.G. gave up the Minneapolis Moline product line to become a dealer for Ford Tractor products and Hesston hay equipment.

At the same time, E.G. changed the name of the business to the current Berchtold Equipment Company.

1950 - 1959
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1960 1969 6

The late 1960's saw the completion of the third generation of Berchtolds with the birth of daughter Marcia in 1963 and the expansion of the business to include "field" forklifts products and, in 1969, the addition of the premier line of skid-steer compact loaders as the company became a Bobcat dealer.

1960 - 1969
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1970 1979

The Berchtold sons came of age in the '70's and followed their parents into the business. Stephen began working full-time in 1972 and quickly became a specialist for the Bobcat line of products. Mark joined in 1974, initially taking on the role of Service Manager. Jeff joined in 1978 establishing himself as a specialist for the Kubota line of products for which Berchtold Equipment Company had become a dealer in 1973.

E.G.'s mother, Minnie, passed away in 1978.

1970 - 1979
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1980 1989

In 1985, Marcia had joined her brothers as a full-time employee, and in 1987 she relocated to manage the new branch store just opened in Santa Maria, CA.

The 1980's (and continuing into the 1990's) were a period of merger and acquisition in the tractor and equipment industry. In 1986, Ford Tractor Company acquired the New Holland line of products, primarily hay harvesting equipment, and renamed themselves Ford New Holland.

1980 - 1989
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Berchtold Delano California

The Ford heritage remains, but in 1991 Ford Motor Company sold their remaining interest in Ford New Holland and the product line became known as it is today as New Holland.

In 1995 Berchtold Equipment Company expanded to a third location by opening a branch in Delano, CA.

1990 - 1999
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2000 current 3

After six decades of hard work, success, and expansion, E.G. and Frankie got the family together to discuss the future and an agreement was reached whereby, through transfer and purchase agreements, Mark Berchtold became the owner and president of Berchtold Equipment Company on January 1, 2008.

2000 - 2009
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Berchtold Family Photo History

In 2010, Berchtold Equipment Company celebrated its 100th year in business, and the sixty-five years of service by E.G. and Frankie.

Today, Mark and wife Beth, along with their three children, are poised to guide Berchtold Equipment Company well into the 21st Century and the 4th generation of Berchtold stewardship.

2010 - Present