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By Mike Scott
It started 40 years ago, as Gary Trump and his partner Ronnie Redding invested $750 each to start Trump and Redding Auto. The pair bought used cars, disassembled them for parts, and then sold the parts. They started the business in a block building owned by Gary’s father, near the current high school. In 1974 the business moved to its current location off Highway 136 in Kahoka, and in 1976, switched its focus to all trucks.
Owner Gary Trump was always interested in cars, and was a local racer when he first started buying cars to race. Forty years later, Trump Trucks is celebrating its 40th anniversary, with an open house of March 27th, from 11:00AM to 2:00PM.
Today, Trump Trucks is known across the midwest for selling new and used truck parts, and for truck repair work. Trump Trucks is the Navistar associate for the area, specializing in International trucks. They have five mechanics on hand, and three welders to handle all the big-truck needs.
“When we went to just trucks, we started rebuilding mainly grain trucks,” Gary said.
“There wasn’t anyone in the area selling trucks,” added Carol, his wife.
“I think we averaged around 300 vehicles a year, but it has slowed down some,” said Gary.
Over the years, the business has changed dramatically, said Gary. Where he used to drive to auctions in St. Louis, Chicago or Des Moines, today he can view the auction listing online at his desk.
“I can bid on five or six auctions a day, now,” Gary said.
As a business, Trump Trucks employs about 20 workers. All four of Gary and Carol’s children, Thad Trump, Tiffani Humbert, Trinity Davis and Tritia Odum, have worked there.
“I made every one for them start on the lower end, sweeping floors and cleaning,” said Gary.
“Small business has made a difference in Kahoka,” Gary said proudly. “We have great employees, and I can leave knowing that our customers will be taken care of.”
What’s in the future for Trump Trucks?
Gary and Carol don’t know what the future holds, but they remain optimistic.
“We started with nothing, and we may end up with nothing, but we’ve had a lot of fun along the way,” he said.