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Thompson Motors rolls with the changes

Fri, Jan 25th, 2013
Posted in Wykoff Features

Rod Thompson

Since first opening the doors in 1940, Thompson Motors of Wykoff, Minn. has learned to roll with the changes in order to keep the business not only surviving but thriving. Started by Charles Thompson as a general repair shop and filling station, the business had to adapt once WWII began and gas was rationed, so Charles became a Hudson car dealer and sold vehicles and farm machinery. Hudson went out of business so, once again, Thompson Motors needed to adjust.

In 1956, Thompson Motors began selling International Harvester pickups and two ton trucks. 1958 brought Charlie’s son, Dick, into the business full-time after working there part-time while attending school. 1959 brought yet another change when Thompson Motors sold its first new diesel semi tractor which started the business on the path to where it is today. While selling new trucks Thompson Motors would receive used trade-ins that were worth more in parts than they would be to sell as used trucks so it made sense to salvage the parts for re-sale. The salvage aspect of the business continued to grow and in 1989, when International was downsizing, the decision was made to sell only used trucks at Thompson Motors and continue the expanding salvage and rebuilt parts business.

Thompson Motors began a new endeavor with their business in 1979 by getting involved in the export market and that continues to be a large part of the business. Dick and his wife Judy welcomed their sons, Chris and Rod, into the business by 1982 and the next year opened a Thompson Motors branch in South St. Paul, Minn.

Last August brought a major blow, and yet another change, for Thompson Motors with the loss of Dick Thompson. But as it has always done in the past Thompson Motors has adjusted. Rod Thompson is now the President and sole operator of Thompson Motors and continues to analyze the business and make changes when necessary. The salvage business continues to do well with separate operations at the edge of Wykoff with 10 acres of space for continued growth.

Rod Thompson states, “The biggest change today from years ago is that so many more farmers own trucks because they have to,” with ethanol plants and grain storage, and added that a lot of farmers “market something every month” so they need to have their own trucks.

One thing that does not change at Thompson Motors is loyalty. Rod states that he “thinks of his customers and employees in decades not in years,” having customers and employees who have been with the business for multiple decades that have seen the changes come and go over the years right along with the owners. Thompson Motors of Wykoff currently employs 28 people.

The original Thompson Motors building is no longer standing but the building where the business is located today, which was built in 1959, holds all of the traditions as the original Thompson Motors, as well as its founder, Charles Thompson.

Thompson Motors is located at 125 So. Gold Street in Wykoff, Minn. The phone number is (507) 352-2435 or toll-free at (800) 862-2002. For more information go to or email at

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