Hersruds of Sturgis sold to Liberty Superstores

July 18, 2018

STURGIS — After more than 100 years in business, Hersruds of Sturgis has been sold.

Liberty Superstores of Rapid City purchased the Chevrolet dealership, and the sale should be final in a couple weeks, said Max Patnoe, general manager of Liberty.

Over the years, people have expressed interest in buying the dealership, David Hersrud said.

“We really didn’t have to seek out people. There were people outside the area who wanted this store, but I wanted somebody to come in that was going to be involved in the community and stay in the community. I wanted someone who understood western South Dakota,” he said.

Hersrud takes obvious pride in the fact that the business was started by his grandfather, Martin, in 1910, and is now being run by the third generation of Hersruds.

It originally provided farm equipment to Lemmon, and the surrounding area. Hersruds later expanded sales to include automobiles. The family relocated the business to Sturgis in 1977 and purchased Belle Fourche’s GMC dealership in 1985.

Hersrud wanted that same family tradition and commitment to the community in the new owners, and found it in the Patnoes, he said.

Max Patnoe’s great grandfather, Ernest Patnoe, owned and operated the Patnoe Garage, a Standard Oil station and Chevrolet dealership in Norris. His grandfather, Larry, purchased the Auto Clinic, an American Motors dealership in Rapid City, in 1963. After a successful local banking career, Max’s dad, Don, joined the business full-time in 1995. Max makes four generations of Patnoes in the business.

“We have been communicating with him (David Hersrud) for a couple years. The timing was right for both parties,” Max Patnoe said. “We’re excited to continue on the legacy of the Hersrud family.”

Liberty has made a commitment to keep the current staff of 25 at Hersruds of Sturgis.

Hersrud, 72, said he was feeling ambivalent about the sale.

He said it absolutely, positively would be a tough day when he walks away from the dealership which has been in his family for 108 years.

“It will be extremely difficult, but it was time,” he said.

The Hersrud family has reached countless milestones in operating their automobile and farm equipment dealerships over the years.

Hersrud is quick to point out the successes of his father and grandfather, a legacy he continued until recently with his brother-in-law, Arnie Luptak, who served as store manager in Sturgis. Arnie retired and David knew that his daughter, Samantha, in her third year of medical school, wasn’t going to give that up to run the dealership.

“There really wasn’t anyone else in the family that wanted to come back to South Dakota to take it over,” he said.

The Hersrud dealership draws customers from a wide area, and now from all across the country thanks to the internet, Hersrud said.

“We’ve sold vehicles everywhere from California to Florida, and from Texas to North Dakota,” he said.

Hersrud attributes the success of the dealership to its philosophy in dealing with customers.

“We tried to make the sales process as easy as possible,” he said.

The Belle Fourche dealership is not part of the sale, Hersrud said.

“That’s still kind of up in the air,” he said.

Hersrud said he will still live in Sturgis and be involved in the community. He believes his decision to sell to the Patnoes and Liberty was the right one.

“I put a lot of thought, time and effort into making sure we had someone who was going to come in and do a good job,” he said. “I want to be able to drive by here 10 years from now and be able to say I made the right choice.”

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