More than 40 years ago local farmer, Claire Scheibe and his family had a small side business on their farm, S&S Antiques. When the farming chores allowed, he and his wife Cathy would pack up their four children in a white Dodge Van and head off for antique shows in Valley City, Fargo and Sioux Falls to set up, display and sell items they had bought at local auctions. Claire really liked the old toys and he always had a box of well-played-with “sand box” toys for sale under the table at these shows.
Eventually he had the opportunity to meet people from the Ertl Company who made most of these toys. He began to buy some of the company’s surplus stock and also gain a lot of the history of farm toys. Each month he would create a list of what he had for sale and send it to people who were interested in buying. These price sheets precipitated many calls from collectors interested in learning what he knew about the Ertl toys.
At Cathy’s suggestion Claire decided to locally print a small monthly newsletter and The Toy Farmer, was born with 17 of Claire’s customers signing up. From this humble beginning the company grew to include the publishing of a monthly magazine and to add another Magazine, Toy Trucker & Contractor. Currently the circulation of these two magazines is nearly 20,000.
Many other endeavors added to the company’s success such as: The National Farm Toy Show, The National Toy Truck ‘N Construction Show and The North Dakota Farm Toy Show. Through the years the company has had hundreds of different models made for these shows and other independent offerings for collectors.
The business is located on the home farm, four miles east and two miles south of LaMoure. The Toy Farmer Museum is housed in a converted historic barn at the same location. The museum, which tells the Toy Farmer story, houses most of everything the company has produced as well as several other Claire Scheibe collections. People wishing to visit the museum can call the Toy Farmer office to make sure it is open since hours vary according to season.
Toy Farmer is a local company that reaches collectors throughout the world. We have subscribers or customers in all 50 states and many foreign countries. Our websites have more than 6,000 visitors monthly from over 50 different countries.
Current employees include: Owner, Cathy Scheibe; Show manager, Lori Aberle; Marketing Manager, Wendi Larson; Graphic Designers, Julie McDaniel-Waswick and Angela Bauer; Proof Reader, Janelle Nogosek; Museum Staff, Janet Hajek and Betty Pratt; Grounds Keeper, Ron Pratt.