Sherman Central Tractor To Close At End Of This Month
SHERMAN — Long-time tractor and hardware store Sherman Central Tractor will be closing at the end of the month.
Owned by Earlene Propheter and her husband Darryl, Sherman Central Tractor, located at 122 Kendrick St. the business opened in 1974, as a franchise off of the company store Central Tractor that used to be located on Foote Avenue. After that store went out in the ’90s, they joined with True Value, and only quit being a part of them a few years ago.
Sherman Central Tractor began mainly selling tractor parts and doing repairs. Eventually they added lawn and gardening and hardware, but Mrs. Propheter said the store attracted people from all over New York State and Pennsylvania because they were known for having more tractor parts than others, and for doing repairs quickly. This eventually petered out, because of there being less farms in the area, along with competition with Tractor Supply, Runnings and the internet.
The store’s official closing date is Oct 22.
Sherman Central Tractor currently only has three employees, and Mrs. Propheter said that she and her husband decided it was the right time.
“We are 82,” Mrs. Propheter said. “It’s time. That’s the main thing. We didn’t have anyone who wanted to take over. We had a few parties interested in buying, but none of them panned out. No others have expressed interest.”
The Propheters started with a gas station and fuel and oil company when the gas shortage hit in the 1970s. At the time Darryl Propheter saw an article that talked about franchising with Central Tractor, so the pair built the building and started the business. Altogether, Mrs. Propheter said the building is “pretty large” with the overall main building being 50 by 120 square feet and the connected addition 40 by 100 square feet. The building still remains for sale.
A few years ago, a lot of traffic was also brought into the Sherman Central Tractor area by the other local business Farmer’s Mill which just closed a few years ago. Village Mayor Colleen Meeder said she hopes with new buyers for that building, someone might be attracted to the Sherman Central Tractor building as well.
“Central Tractor depended a lot on the traffic from the Farmer’s Mill which closed a few years ago,” Meeder said. “COVID delayed the bankruptcy process significantly. The new owners of the old Farmer’s Mill are only expected to receive the deed in the upcoming weeks. It is our hope that the new owner opens the facility to commercial retail traffic. This would encourage a prospective buyer interested in the Central Tractor location.”
Mrs. Propheter said some of her favorite moments in the store were during the “farm hay day” when they used to have pallets full of items like dog food, milk replacer, 25 riding lawn mowers, and some heaters, and everything would sell.
“People really would come from all over,” Mrs. Propheter said. “We’re on a side street so you can’t see us from Interstate 86. We have two girls and they used to work at the store but they both moved on and we have no one who wants to take over. In winter it is difficult to meet expenses.”
Since the closing announcement, Mrs. Propheter said customers have been sad that they are going because they are much more convenient than other big stores. One employee does small engine work, and Mrs. Propheter’s husband is knowledgeable about repairs and tractor parts because they also own their own farm. The store also offers over 70 types of intertubes and multiple belt options.
“If people are fixing, they come to us,” Mrs. Propheter said. “They don’t want to wait to order parts, which is what you have to do for so many other places. Time is money and people know that.”
For the last two weeks Sherman Central Tractor has had a customer appreciation sale going on. Next week everything will be 50% off. There is also wow pricing going on, which is on items greater than 50% off.
Sherman Central Tractor is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and until 1 on Saturday. They are not open on Sundays.
Overall, Mrs. Propheter said she and Darryl are thankful for the community support over the years.
“We appreciate the customers that kept coming back,” Mrs. Propheter said. “They kept us going. We still have a lot of merchandise that are still one of a kind, and things are 50% off so don’t wait if you want something. We have a lot of items that other places don’t have. Other places only focus on the popular items. Even with that, like I said, we are old so it’s time to quit.”