Harold Lempka opened Minden Machine Shop in 1984. Harold and a business partner were looking for a way to make some extra money besides what they made from their regular jobs. Harold worked for his father-in-law’s well-drilling business. Harold’s father-in-law happened to have a building that wasn’t in use in the northeast part of Minden and let them use it. It contained an old lathe and welder. The business began in a 30 foot by 50 foot building along the railroad tracks that went through Minden.
Harold began repairing and building machinery. When they could afford it, they purchased more equipment they needed, such as a mill, more welders and lathes.
Word of their quality work and reasonable prices spread, and they soon had to quit their regular jobs and dedicate themselves full time to the machine shop. After a few years Harold’s partner was offered a lucrative job and wanted out. They divided the equipment and Harold was now on his own.
Harold became overwhelmingly busy. It was hard to keep up with the work. About that time, Harold’s son Larry, who had been helping his father when he could, graduated from college. Along with a friend, Larry joined Harold’s business. Soon after, Kerry, who had also helped his father when he could, quit his job to join his father and brother.
The two brothers decided that, in addition to repair work, they would manufacture farm equipment. They had paid attention to the things they were fixing and thought “we could build that better.” Specifically, agriculture equipment. The business took off.
They did business always keeping the philosophy their father set as an example: If you do a good job at a fair price, and treat your customer with respect, the business would thrive. And it did just that. In 1994 they branded the line of equipment they manufactured and sold as “Patriot Equipment” because of their deep sense of patriotism.
They moved to the current location in 1995 and in 2004 19 people worked at Patriot Equipment. In 2008 there were 30. Harold formally retired in 2007, yet continued to come in everyday to greet customers and play solitaire everyday until his passing in 2016.
Over the course of the past thirty years the business has grown; sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, but always steadily. There are now more than 60 people working at Patriot Equipment.
What was once a business in a 30 foot by 50 foot building, grew to what is now in buildings that total more than 92,000 square feet. Patriot Equipment manufactures and sells 31 lines of equipment, of which each has several versions. Seed tenders alone have 10 different variations of size and style. We also still take in business as a Machine Shop doing repairs on equipment for farmers, companies, schools, hospitals, or anyone who comes in looking for help.
We appreciate doing business with you, and we thank you for your patronage of Patriot Equipment.
Thank you to all of our customers and the dealers who have helped us throughout the years. Also, thank you to all of our employees who are the reason we’ve been able to become what we are today.