|By CINDY LADAGE
KASOTA, Minn. — Bryan Ebbenga has taken his love of antique tractors, toys and literature to the Internet. He developed a website, www.AntiqueTractorSource.com
Selling online works well for this antique tractor and toy collector. The website offers customers access to unique and quality products without high inventory costs.
“I am always looking for someone that has a quality product that collectors are interested in that (the manufacturer/wholesaler) is willing to ship directly to the customer for me,” Ebbenga said. “Today’s business world relies on just-in-time inventory. AntiqueTractorSource provides the marketing and the wholesaler provides delivery. It’s a win-win situation for the buyer and the seller.”
Ebbenga knows what collectors are looking for because he is one, too. He grew up in a family involved with the hobby.
“I spent my summers attending tractor shows helping my parents sell manuals and tractor books,” he said. “I enjoyed reading and started researching antique tractors. Meeting collectors from all over the Midwest was also a lot of fun.”
His parent’s business name is R & D Books; so, Ebbenga had access to manuals and literature as a child. He grew up on a small farm north of Butterfield, Minn. spending time with his grandfather and uncles who farmed with Farmalls and Olivers. He enjoyed going each year to the Butterfield’s Steam & Gas Engine Show.
The love of the antique tractor hobby and the trend of helping out in the family business have been passed on from Ebbenga and his wife, Lisa, to their two children. Ebbenga began collecting toys in 1988 for his son, Garret. He would buy one for himself and one for his son. Garret, now 18, is in basic training in Georgia.
When Ebbenga decided to go online with his buying and selling venture, it was his daughter, Ashley, who told him she could do it much cheaper than what the data he found estimated - thus this college junior is his web mistress.
An online auction course provided Ebbenga with the basics to set up his Internet site.
He decided he needed a better understanding of e-commerce.
“I needed to learn more, so I researched online selling and found OAA, the Online Auction Academy,” Ebbenga said. “It took six months, and I learned more in those six months than I had learned on my own in the previous two years.”
The site today includes more than just an informational website listed in the course. He has AntiqueTractorSource, a web store and AntiqueTractor Supply.
While this is a business for the Ebbenga family, it is the love of the hobby that prompted it. The opening words in his website say, “Antique Tractor Source: For the love of tractors, engines, farm toys, and finding others that enjoy the same thing you do.”
This farm news was published in the May 31, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.