BUSINESS BEAT: B&F Sales and Service in Grand Forks turns 50

For 50 years, B&F Sales and Service has provided such items as lawn mowers and motorcycles and offered repair and maintenance too.

For 50 years, B&F Sales and Service has been providing such vehicles and items as all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and lawn mowers for sale and offering to repair and maintain them too.

Ryan Tomilin’s father Bill started the business with his cousin Fred Markin (hence B&F) in 1963 and it wasn’t situated at the current location at 7446 Second Street, but rather around the corner on Central Avenue, in the area where the pawn shop is.

“They sold Honda motorcycles, Toro lawn mowers and a couple of years later they built (the Second Street) building and Fred moved to Nelson and my dad kept going with this,” explained Tomilin.

Tomilin says that nowadays there are a lot more product lines, more products but there hasn’t been a lot of change.

“It’s basically the same. We still sell and repair a lot of different equipment, it’s just more than just motorcycles and lawn mowers. We do everything:  there are ATVs now, snowmobiles, more lawn and garden equipment, all that kind of stuff,” he said. “Financing now has been a lot more prevalent with people; they don’t just come in with cash anymore.”

Tomilin used to head to the store after school as a child and quickly developed a liking for the business.

“It’s what I always wanted to do. I love working on this stuff, riding on this stuff. I used to ride motorcycles every day as a kid and then I’d come in to work. I mean I’ve been working probably since I was 12 years old,” reminisced Tomilin.

One thing that has changed is the technical aspect of the product that B&F Sales and Service sells.

“It used to be simple but it’s not simple anymore. Most equipment is more complex and there’s a lot more training you have to go through as it is a lot tougher to diagnose and repair it. Everything’s online now; it’s virtual classrooms. Instead of getting a book, it’s all on a disk or you’re in a classroom with hundreds of other guys on the phone,” he said.

Tomilin said Grand Forks is a great place to be and he loves offering the sales and service to the community.

“We try our best to have fair prices and good service,” he went on to say.

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