Wayne Hartman, owner and founder of Fargo’s Wheel’s, Inc., sold the company to Bill Bradford of Bradford Powersports, LLC, in August. The Cedar Falls, Iowa-based Bradford Companies recently released the official announcement.
Hartmann first opened the powersports dealership in September 1977. He told The Forum that he felt it was time for him to hit the brakes on work, and ride into retirement.
“After 45 years I have decided to retire and have sold Wheels. It is bittersweet because of the great employees and customers I have been blessed with, but there finally comes a time and I felt this was it,” Hartmann said. “After 45 years I felt like I was losing the drive and commitment it takes to keep a business moving forward so I decided it was finally time to sell.”
Hartmann also felt his employees and customers would be treated well after the sale.
“The reason I felt good about selling Wheels to Bill Bradford is because in my research he was very successful in the businesses he owned and was very interested in keeping the employees that I had at Wheels,” Hartmann said. Meeting some of Bradford’s key team members sealed the deal, according to Hartmann.
“I could feel how happy they were working for Bill, which put me at ease with how my employees would be treated. I like Bill's energy and enthusiasm and think he will continue to build Wheels and make it even better,” he said.
The Wheels website describes Bradford as “an avid sledder, a Polaris enthusiast and a passionate philanthropist.”
“For the past 20-plus years I’ve had the strong desire to get into the Powersports industry and when I began looking at Wheels with the opportunity to purchase it, I knew this was the perfect fit for our organization,” Bradford said. “The amount of tenure and the existing culture along with the customer experience aligned perfectly with what I was looking for. It’s our goal to continue to grow the Wheels brand while delivering the best experience possible to our customers.”
The dealership carries all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles, personal watercraft, snowmobiles and utility terrain vehicles. It also offers parts and service for Indian and Kawasaki motorcycles, Polaris ATVs and UTVs, and Kawasaki personal watercraft.
Bradford owns several businesses under the Bradford Companies umbrella, including:
- Next Generation Wireless, a USCellular authorized agent with 19 locations. There are 11 locations in Iowa and the rest in west and central Illinois. This is the company’s 21st year in business.
- Jiva Salonspa, an Aveda lifestyle spa and salon in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
- MMC Properties, a company that owns and leases commercial, retail and residential properties.
- Wheels, Inc. (Bradford Powersports)
“He really is a true entrepreneur,” said Emilee Nedoba, marketing coordinator of Bradford Companies. She discussed his drive when it comes to giving back to the community, including giving employees paid time off to do volunteer work where they live. “He’s kind of built this crazy, unique culture that’s hard to get away from. We’re all heavily involved in the community,” she said. “We’re able to elevate each other and enrich lives by being involved.”
Hartmann and his wife make their primary home in South Dakota’s Black Hills, where he enjoys riding his motorcycle and RZR with his wife.
“I want to thank my great loyal employees I have been blessed with and the many repeat customers I have had, (who) supported Wheels while I had owned it,” Hartmann said.