The Kramer family started out primarily as farmers. Then Ivan and Lloyd Kramer
started a construction company that specialized in road building called "Kramer
Brothers" in 1947. All the meantime, they farmed on the side. About 1957,
they rerouted/rebuilt Ohio state route 726 right by Ivan's house. As a matter of
fact, Ivan's chicken house was right in the way of the new proposed route. It was,
as Ivan explains, "a case of move the chicken house or tear it down."
Using piling intended for bridge construction, the Kramers hauled it over behind the barn
with a bulldozer.
Through the years, someone had stored soybeans in the chicken house.
Joe Kramer, Ivan's son and President of Kramer Power Equipment, 8 at the
time, was in school the day it was moved. But one of his fondest recollections is
skating with his friends in the chicken house on top of a layer of soybeans - thoroughly
dried and hard as a shot!
Kramer Power Equipment Organized
Ivan and Lloyd dissolved their construction business in 1965. Ivan and his wife
Anna, spotted an ad in the paper for Wheelhorse dealers, and became one. This was
the birth, in 1975, of Kramer Power Equipment, selling and repairing mowers, tillers, and
mulchers. The Kramers set up shop in the old chicken house. Joe started
Kramer's Auto Body Shop the same year.
The next steppingstone
Ivan and Joe collaborated on repairing farm equipment, for which they bought
their first machine tool, a Hendy engine lathe for $500 at an NCR auction in Dayton.
The repair business soon overtook the Wheelhorse dealership, which was discontinued
- the body shop too. Ever the opportunists, they expanded the chicken house to 1800
square feet. They also began to install and repair truck bed bodies, snowplows, and
salt spreaders for township, county and state trucks.
....And the next
Kramer Power Equipment bought additional machine tools, custom built others
themselves, and became a full time industrial welding and machine shop. In addition
to the repair business, the shop modifies products such as sprockets, gears, pulleys, and
couplers for a prominent manufacturer of power transmission. The business thrived
and outgrew the chicken house. In 1981, the Kramers opened a brand-new 8,000 square
foot plant. The company has been maturing ever since adding more equipment and new
computerized machinery. In 1997, the Kramers started adding another 16,000
square foot to the facility.
& Anna Kramer - Co-Founders
As Ivan has said "A big part of running a machine shop is ingenuity.
It's the ability to use our equipment for purposes other than it was designed for-
to do jobs other people thought were too difficult or impossible."