W.G. Leffelman & Sons, Inc. has been serving the farmers of North Central Illinois since 1935. We are located 100 miles west of Chicago in Amboy,IL and are a family owned business. Walter G. Leffelman was the founder of the company and since his death in 1979, his two sons, John & Sylvan have owned and operated the company. The third generation is now becoming involved in the operation of the business. The farmers in Lee and surrounding counties will continue to deal with the family they have come to know and trust and who knows them personally.

Company details

340 N. Metcalf Ave , Amboy , Illinois 61310 USA

Locations Served

Our Manufacturers

Business Type:
Distributor
Industry Type:
Agriculture
Market Focus:
Locally (one state or province)

W.G. Leffelman & Sons, Inc. has been serving the farmers of North Central Illinois since 1935. We are located 100 miles west of Chicago in Amboy,IL and are a family owned business. Walter G. Leffelman was the founder of the company and since his death in 1979, his two sons, John & Sylvan have owned and operated the company. The third generation is now becoming involved in the operation of the business. The farmers in Lee and surrounding counties will continue to deal with the family they have come to know and trust and who knows them personally.

We are a full service CASE IH dealership specializing in agricultural equipment. We have experienced sales, parts and service personnel. We utilize the 'Support Pro' software developed by Case Corporation which gives us access to all the parts catalogs and service bulletins which helps locate information and minimize our customers down time.

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AMBOY - Walter George Leffelman fell on hard times. He and his brother, Howard, farmed together in Maytown at The Five Points Farm. Both families worked and lived together for 8 years.

Walter's son, John Leffelman, recalled, 'It was during the Great Depression era, and Dad said there wasn't enough income for two families.'

With nothing more than a desire to feed his family, a background in farming, and an eighth-grade education, Walter left the farm and moved his family to Amboy. He went into business for himself, opening an international Harvester (now Case-IH) dealership, still known today as W.G. Leffelman & Sons Inc.

'My dad and mother may not have been educated, but they were pretty smart, I think,' John said. 'I learned it all from listening to my dad.'

The business began in 1935 in downtown Amboy.

It was moved to its current address on Metcalf Avenue in 1964.

Walter often brought his sons to work where they learned the ins and outs of the shop that they ultimately took over after his death in 1979.

'My first memory here was in 1943,' John said. 'I was 11 years old. We only had one mechanic. He and my brother [Sylvan] were out in the field. Dad said he had to go to Aurora. 'You can run the store.' he said. And it was nothing like it is today, and I did.'

Sylvan, Walter's oldest son, now 84 years old, said: 'My first memory was back in grade school when we moved off the farm in '35. I was about 6 years old. From that time on, I have been around machinery, and that rather intrigued me. It has been an interesting life that I had. A lot of memories, and I think we accomplished a few things along the way.'

Times then were tough for everyone, the brother recalled.

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During World War II, parts were difficult to get for tractor and machinery because materials were used for war goods.

'They were short; everything was rationed, butter, sugar, gasoline; it was all hard to get,' said John, 81. 'In 1943, the only tractors we sold were on all steel wheels. I still have the [inventory] book; we sold five that year. After the war, they would do it the right way, cutting down steel wheels and putting tires on.'

The ongoing education and changes the brothers Sylvan and John faced were numerous, but it was the passion to serve the farmers in their community that drove them to learn as their father had. 

The newest generation and current co-owners since 2005, Sylvan's son, Paul Leffelman, and his son in-law, Tom McConville, are also learning constantly to keep up with technology.

Tom, 53, who has been married to Sylvan's daughter, Jan, for 31 years, began working at Leffelman's in 1984. 

'This ag business is constantly evolving,' Tom said. 'It is very technology driven. The machinery still gets bigger, but auto guidance is a big part of it. There's a learning curve, and it is ongoing. You have to have dedicated employees.'

Paul, 52, said although he is now co-owner, he started at age 18 sweeping the shop floor, as many of the young local kids do when they are hired.

'You start with cleanup, and,' he said with a chuckle, 'you still do that off and on.'

Currently they have 26 employees. As many generations for farming families they're worked with over the years, Paul said, they have had equal generations come to work in the shop.


Sylvan said: 'I don't think my dad realized when there changes were happening every day. You look back and see a lot happened. He had the common sense to recognize things were changing. If you wanted to be a part of that change, you had to recognize and try to adapt and be a survivor. Don't let the changes overwhelm you. Stick with it and tell yourself, 'I am not going to walk away without putting up a fight.''

Primarily dealing in Case-IH sales, service and parts, W.G. Leffelman & Sons also has a complete lawn and garden line, including Woods, Grasshopper, and Cub Cadet brands.

When it comes to servicing machines, there is nothing they won't try to fix, all four men agreed.

John and Sylvan, standing in the shop, discussed a 1942 Farmall M and what great shape it is still in as they strolled down memory lane.

Tom said: 'Mechanically, we will go clear back to that. There isn't anything we won't at least try to fix. Technicians not only go to the field with a toolbox, but you also go with your computer. You try to do as much as you can in the field. Hauling is very expensive.

Paul said: 'When we were little, we'd come in and help. It was neat coming over here, seeing what was going on, climbing on tractors. We didn't really get to see tractors and combines otherwise because we lived in town.'

Today, he said, his favorite parts is seeing the farmers and getting them going if they have troubles.

As much as has changed, one constant remains: The men all credit their other halves for many of their successes.

Tom's wife, Jan, and Paul's wife, Robin, take care of the bookkeeping the same as Virginia and Mary had before them.

Sylvan and Virginia have been married for 60 years.

He said: 'The secret is to love one another, put up with trials and tribulations, keep your eye on the goal. When you marry, you make a commitment and a promise. She has been real easy to get along with, and she is quite a lady. I am quite proud of her.'

John and Mary have been married for 45 years. He said: 'I got kind of a late start. In '48, I was real sick. I had a brain tumor the size of a large orange. That has been my biggest obstacle in my lifetime. We went on a blind date and by golly, it worked out.'

Looking at a black-and-white picture of Mary in his wallet, he added with a broad smile, 'She is still as pretty today.'

The lineage of the Leffelman name is about as long as a country back road, and each anticipates the family business will carry on long after they are gone.