Mikels Inc. History
Mikels Farm Supply began in 1950 when Earl Mikels (1925-1998) purchased the Case farm machinery business from John Garrett. Earl operated the new business out of the Chevrolet garage that was located off the southeast corner of the Bloomfield, Iowa, town square until a new dealership building was completed. In January 1951, Mikels Farm Supply moved into its new showroom on the northern edge of Bloomfield and also started selling Studebaker automobiles. Earl was joined by his wife, Clara (1924-2018), who worked as a bookkeeper for the dealership for over 50 years.
On March 18, 1954, Mikels Farm Supply was awarded a franchise to sell new Oldsmobile automobiles, which began the Mikels family’s long association with General Motors.
Earl was approached by Oldsmobile in November 1956 to purchase the Oldsmobile dealership in Ottumwa, Iowa. During a special meeting of stockholders at Morrell-Brown Olds Company on December 18, 1956, the sale to Earl Mikels was approved, and January 2, 1957, the Ottumwa dealership was renamed Mikels Oldsmobile. However, this venture was short-lived and the Ottumwa dealership was closed in 1960.
In 1957, Mikels Farm Supply received the John Deere tractors franchise for Davis County when John Deere consolidated the Drakesville dealership of Curt Ross and the Pulaski dealership of Jim Jones. For a short time Mikels Farm Supply sold both John Deere and Case farm machinery, but by 1960, the business had ceased selling new Case machines.
In the late 1950s, Mikels Farm Supply acquired a Rambler franchise and sold Rambler vehicles until late 1965, when Mikels Farm Supply -- which had been renamed Mikels Incorporated in 1960 -- ended its brief relationship with Rambler to focus on the General Motors Oldsmobile division and the three new franchises Mikels Inc. had acquired from General Motors in the fall of 1965: Buick and Pontiac from Milligan Motors on the north side of the Bloomfield Square and GMC from Harris Motor Company.
The Mikels Inc. lineup remained John Deere farm machinery and General Motors’ GMC, Buick, Pontiac, and Oldsmobile divisions until 1978, when the company sold the assets of the John Deere dealership to Elton Anderson.
On August 12, 1982, Mikels Inc. began selling Chevrolet vehicles after being awarded the franchise by General Motors, which was previously held by Wendell Smith. In 1986, Mikels Inc. parted with the GMC franchise to focus on the more popular -- and similarly designed -- Chevrolet division. With the exception of the Geo brand, which appeared from 1989 to the late 1990s, the lineup remained unchanged until the Oldsmobile brand was phased out in 2001.
Following the General Motors government-financed bailout and bankruptcy reorganization in 2008/2009, Mikels Incorporated became exclusively a pre-owned automobile dealership and operated until Russ Mikels sold the business and retired in June 2021.