Farmer Charmers Keep Customers Going
As McCook's oldest continuously run family business, Klein's Motor & Electric stands by the same principles that have been their hallmark since the business began 83 years ago.
"Our philosophy is pretty simple," says Don Klein. "Without customers, we have nothing. So, from the start, Klein's Motor & Electric has been dedicated to taking care of customers, doing whatever it takes to keep them going, whether that be service or parts or equipment."
Through the years, Klein's commitment to customers has taken many forms. The business began in 1930 when Ben and Olga Klein opened a bicycle repair shop in South McCook. The Depression hit soon after that, but the business kept growing and Ben began repairing vehicles of all kinds.
The name, Klein's Motor & Electric, was adopted in 1932, and growth has been steady ever since. The big change came in 1940 and 1941, when Klein's took on the Allis-Chalmers line and moved to the firm's present location at 605 West B Street. "It was just a dirt bank back then," Don Klein said. "Dad and Uncle Jake dug it out and built the original building here."
It was a good decision. Klein's business continued to grow, paving the way for Don and his wife, Norma, to purchase the business from Don's parents in 1962. Don and Norma's ownership -- which now exceeds 50 years -- has resulted in many more changes, including addition of product lines, service to the oil industry and further expansion of the parts department, welding and machine shop and the set-up and delivery service.
"Not counting Norma and I, our 17 employees have a combined total of 307 years of service," Don said.
The experienced and knowledgeable staff is a major reason that Klein's reaches so far out in all directions, serving customers throughout Southwest Nebraska, Northwest Kansas and parts of Colorado.
One of the things that sets Klein's apart is the firm's reputation for being able to make the shafts, bearings, hoses and other parts that are no longer available or are hard to get. "Just yesterday," Don said, "one of the irrigation companies came to us for a head shaft. Their's had broken and they couldn't find one. So they came to us and we had them up and running by the end of the day."
That scenario has been repeated thousands of times through the years as Klein's Motor & Electric has become known throughout the area as the go-to place for parts, repair, and on-the-spot fabrication.
Since starting with Allis-Chalmers in 1940, Klein's has continued to expand its product lines, and now handles New Holland, Agco, Crustbuster, Haybuster, Westendorf and Snapper. This adds up to an impressive list of equipment offerings, ranging from tractors, combines and hay equipment to skid loaders, wheel loaders, mini excavators, tillage drills, tub grinders and a complete line of lawn equipment.
"We service everything we sell, plus most other brands," said Dave Lytle, Klein's agricultural sales manager. Aided by seven service trucks, Klein's commitment to service re-enforces the firm's long-standing reputation for reliability.
For many years, Klein's Motor & Electric has been known as "The Farmer Charmers" because they can be counted on to come through when farmers need them most.
"The big thing is to keep our customers going," Lytle said. "Everyone who works here is dedicated to getting customers whatever they need, whether it be parts or service or equipment."
That was true in 1930 and it's true today for Klein's Motor & Electric, McCook's oldest continuously run family business.
Visit their web site at www.kleinsmotorelectric.com