Gem of the Week: The repairman who keeps the region moving
Walhalla, ND (WDAZ-TV) It's a familiar sound in Pembina County. Some sort of equipment being worked on inside Holen Repair in Walhalla. Today's task for Dale Holen, an International Club Cadet lawnmower engine. "Not sure why he wants to fix it," ...
Walhalla, ND (WDAZ-TV)
It's a familiar sound in Pembina County.
Some sort of equipment being worked on inside Holen Repair in Walhalla.
Today's task for Dale Holen, an International Club Cadet lawnmower engine.
“Not sure why he wants to fix it,” commented Holen.
Though it's old and outdated of course Dale has the part.
“This is where I got parts for the engine I’m working on,” Holen said as he ventured through the warehouse.
That's what has made Holen Repair a go to repair shop in the region, especially for farmers.
“Dad didn’t just order the one he needed for the day, he ordered one for the next customer who would need it,” explained Holen.
Holen repair first opened in 1930. Dale's dad Alvin started the business. Dale joined dad in 1953 and has been running it by himself since 1989 when Alvin passed away.
“All the neighbors bring their lawnmowers, their tillers, snow blowers, so there is always something around here that needs to be fixed,” said Holen.
With so much to do this 81-year old can be found in the shop almost every day from 9 to 5.
“What do you like about this so much you just keep doing it,” asked reporter Matt Henson.
“I don’t know, I just always like to hear these little engines or any engines, just something about taking them apart, engines that don’t work, taking them apart and figuring out what’s wrong and putting them back together again and getting them to run and useable again,” replied Holen.
The repair itself can be a daunting task, but at least has what he needs to do the job. Thousands of parts on hand, way more than the competition. Somehow he finds them relatively quickly. Dale has no clue how to use a computer. And he admits no real inventory system.
“I’ve just been around it so long I know where it's at,” explained Holen.
Though occasionally he can't find the part he needs....
“Maddening, I go in the back thinking there’s going to be a part there, knowing dad would have it,” Holen said with a chuckle.
But from time to time Dale will find himself in a pinch, without a part, but he can be creative at times saving pieces or leftover parts.
“I recycle it, later on you can find something to do with that stuff,” said Holen.
As it’s time to wrap up for lunch Dale puts the finishing touches on another engine hoping it will roar again.
While Dale's been fixing engines for decades, we asked how long will his engine roar?
“I want to work as long as I can…someday I'll have to quit,” he replied