New SL Hydraulics owners familiar with local operation

Thursday, June 6, 2002

Just as the old saying goes, "Why fix it if it isn't broken?"

As the newest owners of Storm Lake Hydraulics, two local residents are taking the saying to heart in keeping the business' 20-year tradition of service and quality alive.

Since becoming active owners of Storm Lake Hydraulics on June 1, Larry and Doreen Brunning of Storm Lake are no strangers to the company. Before purchasing the hydraulic, truck and trailer repair shop from Palmer and Paula Olson of Storm Lake, Larry had previously worked for 11 years as a mechanic at Storm Lake Hydraulics.

Although Larry only bought Storm Lake Hydraulics recently, he said he had planned for years in advance to buy the business upon the Olsons' retirement.

"It had been kind of an ongoing thing for a couple years between us and the Olsons," Larry said. "We knew they would soon plan on retiring, and we had talked about it. When he did, I purchased the business."

Larry claims the locality of the business played a large part in his purchasing of it. While Larry himself was born and raised in Storm Lake, the couple's three children, Dustin, 17, Jordan, 16, and Camie, 15, all attend school in Storm Lake. Aside from working at Storm Lake Hydraulics, Doreen is also employed part-time at Gingerbread House and Servicemaster.

Located north of the National Guard Armory at 1403 E. Third St., Storm Lake Hydraulics specializes in hydraulic repair, truck and trailer repair, welding and machine work for commercial businesses, farmers, contractors, and individual customers.

Upon taking over the business founded by the Olsons in 1982, the Brunnings insisted that little, if anything, would be changed about it.

"Palmer and Paula really laid the groundwork for this business, and one of the big things was that we've always had good employees and a good customer base," Larry said. "We wouldn't want to change it at all."

"That and Palmer and Paula were very good about knowing why you shouldn't change something that's already working," Doreen said.

Although Larry said he plans to keep his options open for possible changes in the future, the business will certainly retain all seven of its employees, and will continue the tradition of personal service to its mostly local customer base. Larry said the good inventory carried by Storm Lake Hydraulics also often attracts construction companies and businesses from far away.

"Palmer has always had good focus with the customers," Larry said. "Customer service had always been a big priority for the Olsons, and it still is for us. We also have plenty of experience and expertise here."

Larry said all of his employees have worked at Storm Lake Hydraulics for at least two years, while he has been a mechanic in Storm Lake since 1984, as an employee at Wetherell Excavating and Trucking and Peters Truck Repair before joining Storm Lake Hydraulics in 1991.

Aside from previously owning Storm Lake Hydraulics, Palmer and Paula Olson had also owned Carroll Hydraulics, which they recently sold to Carroll managers Earl and Gail Luft.

Doreen said that although the businesses are now split, they plan to continue working together as just part of the effort given by the Brunnings to give their customers the best service possible.

"We've always tried for good service and quality work, in the past," Larry said. "We're just sticking with the tradition."

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