Jim Gesswein, longtime owner of Gesswein Motors in Milbank, announced he has sold the business to Kelly Krausz of Aberdeen. Krausz, a native of Lemmon, owns and operates AutoMaxx in Aberdeen.
Krausz and co-owner, Josh Kraft, opened AutoMaxx of Aberdeen in the fall of 2018. AutoMaxx, located just east of Aberdeen, sells pre-owned cars and trucks and has room for 250 vehicles on its lot.
According to Gesswein, his last day in operation will be November 1. It has been quite a ride, though, for a man who has sold and collected vehicles for over 60 years.
Jim’s dad got him interested in the car business as he owned an Oldsmobile, GMC, Harley Davidson, and New Idea farm equipment dealership. Jim always says. “I learned the art of the deal from the best.”
One of Jim’s favorite stories about his early days in the car business is about their bear — JoJo the Bear. Jim says his dad enticed many a buyer with a live black bear named JoJo. JoJo would greet customers and entertain them by drinking a bottle of soda pop or beer. And JoJo was a tidy bear, too. He would toss the bottles in the trash when he was finished with them. One of Jim’s duties was to take JoJo on his daily walk.
It was a major loss for the community and the Gesswein family when Jim’s father passed away at a young age in 1961. But, he had left his mark and instilled a love of cars and a love of the car business in his young son.
Funded by a $5000 loan from his uncle, Jim established Gesswein Motors in 1967. He started with a seven-car inventory.
Over the years, his brother John worked alongside him, and together Gesswein Motors grew to be a tour de force in the region. The Gessweins and the dealership received multiple awards for sales and service, including the Chrysler Pentastar Club Award 15 times. Jim also served on multiple advisory committees including the Minneapolis Advertising Board and the National Chrysler Dealer Council.
Join the Valley Express in welcoming the new owners to Milbank and congratulating Jim on his retirement.