When Leander Salzl opened up his welding and fabricating shop in Watkins 50 years ago, he had no idea he’d still be in business today.
But the good Lord willing, Salzl may have many years ahead of him. At age 77, he doesn’t see retirement in his future.
“I’ve done this all my life,” said Salzl, who purchased Ben Krippner’s Blacksmith Shop when he was just 27.
Business in those early years was “really good,” Salzl said, and he worked alone for the first five years until he hired his first two employees.
Today, he’s down to one employee, his son, David.
Salzl Welding does all types of welding and fabricating jobs for other small businesses, including many local farmers.
But the absence of small farms has hurt Salzl in one respect – his ability to find good employees.
“It’s really hard to get good
people,” he said. “When I first started, you could take a kid off the farm and train them. They just are not out there anymore. Kids go to school so long that they don’t have the practical experience that you need in this job. You need a lot of common sense.
Salzl isn’t sure if his son will some day take over the business, so “until the Lord says I gotta quit,” he’ll keep on working.