On behalf of our entire staff, we would like to welcome you and thank you for visiting our website. West Bend Ford is a Ford Motor Company franchisee which offers superior automotive sales, service, parts, and reconditioning services for our valued customers in the West Bend and surrounding communities.
Located in a small rural Iowa farming community, West Bend Ford has been successfully serving many generations in the West Bend and surrounding communities. We are a locally owned and operated small business that you will find pleasant to do business with.
Give us a call or stop in; we look forward to serving you soon!
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Mr. Adolf (Sam) Montag acquired the first Ford franchise in West Bend in 1919 along with a partner Wilbur Foxwell. The dealership was located in a building downtown West Bend, later owned by J.B. Mertz as a John Deere dealer, Lamperts Lumberyard, and now a new building has replaced the original which is currently the home of Community Lumber Supply, Inc.
Foxwell soon sold his interest to Jake Bauman. Later, in 1926, Ford was two years behind in getting out the Model A, therefore, the dealership had nothing to sell and the decision was made to drop the Ford franchise. At that time Bauman and Montag took over the Hudson franchise. From 1926 to 1935 the dealership sold Hudsons and Essex cars, and some Falcon Knights made by Willy’s Motor Company.
In 1929 Sam purchased a farm North of Whittemore and sold his interest in the business to Leo (Jap) and Al (Ole) Montag (Sam’s brothers) and the building was sold to J.B. Mertz. The depression had taken a hold by then. Leo and Al’s brother, George, who ran an implement, merged with the auto dealership to create a 4-person partnership. The building was rented until 1935 until it relocated to a new building downtown in West Bend in January 1936.
In 1936, the Ford franchise was re-acquired by the partnership. Both Ford and International Harvester brands were sold and serviced. The Ford brand included cars, trucks, and tractors. The International Harvester franchise was dropped in 1948 because Ford sales were strong. In 1966 Al (Ole) died and the other partners, George Montag and Jake Bauman, had sold out in time to Leo leaving him the sole owner until 1973. In 1973 the dealership and Ford franchise was sold to Don Holland. Don sold and serviced Ford cars and trucks in the same building until selling the business to Fred Korte, November 1, 1975. Fred operated the business as a Ford dealership, offering new and used vehicles, and parts and service. Fred hired Jim Wolfe as General Manager. In May of 1981 the old AMC Jeep building and body shop were purchased from Annebel Higgison. This building was built as an AMC Jeep dealership in 1979 and had since sold out. Jim moved the Ford business out of the 1936 rented building and into this more modern and efficient facility.
The dealership fought its way through rough times in the early 1980s during the farming crunch when many auto dealers and farmers in Iowa lost their business. With the assistance of a local lender, Korte Ford was able to weather the storm and keep the doors open.
In February of 1986, Korte Ford came up for sale. Four of the business’ present employees at the time saw the community’s need for the service that was provided by the dealership. The 4 employees (Juanita Schmalen, Kent Wolfe, Joe Miller, Dale VanHove) set out to acquire the financing it would take to hold on to the 67 year old Ford franchise. 140 shares of stock in West Bend Ford, Inc. were sold at $500 per share and the newly formed corporation was registered on March 20th, 1986 and the official purchase and transfer of the business took place on October 1st, 1986.
On October 1st, 1998, the shareholders of West Bend Ford, Inc. voted to sell all shares to John Mertz and Edward Montag of West Bend. John was a silent partner while Edward became the general manager of the operation. The business continued to operate the business at the same location, maintaining the Ford franchise. 3 lots on Highway 15 were added to the dealership which is currently being utilized as a used car lot. The Mertz and Montag partnership continued until August 2nd, 2011.
Edward’s two sons, James and Jeffrey, became partners in the business on August 2nd, 2011 when Edward and each of them purchased an equal # of shares from John to make it 100% owned by the Edward Montag family. During Montag ownership a new building was constructed on the lots located on Highway 15 with plans to move the detailing department of their business to this location. The name of the corporation was changed to Montag Bros., Inc. and the business continues to do business as West Bend Ford with 11 full-time employees currently on staff.