Phillip and Joyce Humphreys moved to Greencastle Indiana in February of 1966 with their 3 year old daughter Ginger and their 2 year old son Brian. The previous summer, Phil had helped a Wheel Horse Lawn Tractor dealer at a county fair. Upon recognizing Phil's innate mechanical ability and ingenuity, the dealer graciously pointed out that there was an opportunity for a dealership similar to his in near by Greencastle. Phil and Joyce seized the opportunity, loaded up the kids and set off on their entrepreneurial journey.
Phillip and Joyce Humphreys with their children Ginger and Brian
Phil and Joyce set up shop at 106 W Jacobs St in Greencastle. With a small shop located behind their house, Humphreys' Wheel Horse was born. Along with Wheel Horse, Phil sold Lawn Boy push mowers and Lombard chainsaws.
Fun Fact: the year Humphreys' Wheel Horse launched, there was a terrible drought (not good when you sell lawn mowers for living). Phil decided to pick up the Rupp Mini Bike line, a product that would during a drought. Phil attributes this product's success with getting him through his first year.
Fun Fact: Did you notice how the door is open? The latch on this door was broken. To lock the door Phil would push a wWheel Horse lawn mower up against the back of the door, then put the tractor in gear so that the mower wouldn't move and the door couldn't open.
Fun Fact: Using his mechanical knowledge, Phil, amassed quite a collection of garden tractor pulling awards (notice the parts counter and behind) and even won a state championship in his class.
Fun Fact: Woody Porter was a service technician for tractor specialties which was the main Ferguson distributor, selling Ferguson tractors straight out of England. After they went out of business he became a mailman. George York was a Schwerman driver, they hauled concrete all over the state. He worked as a part time mechanic at Humphreys, then after his retirement from Schwerman, drove the delivery truck for Humphreys.
The Big Move:
After 6 years of success in the business, Phil & Joyce found their shop cramped. It was at this time, in 1972, that they moved to 950 N Jackson St in Greencastle.
Fun Fact: While Phil payed to have the roof completed, most of the building was constructed by him and few friends. He laid all the rock himself.
The Son Also Rises
By the time the 80s rolled around, Humphreys' Wheel Horse was an established part of the community. Wheel Horse continued to recognize Humphreys' with awards. It was also in this era that Brian decided to come into the family business.
What's in a name?
Their company profile included a feature on how Phil and Brian had signed up to take Phil's airboat to New Orleans immediately following Hurricane Katrina. They left with the Putnam County Sheriff's department to help rescue trapped residents.