TROY, Kansas — LeRoy Jamvold munches calmly from a bag of popcorn as he scans a virtually empty shop floor that once housed a small collection of tractors and other farm equipment.
Jamvold, who is 81 years old, is closing up his business, Jamvold Truck & Tractor Repair, in Troy, Kansas.
“I’m done, because I sold about everything I got in here,” he said in explaining his decision. “Everybody has a time in their life when they’ve got to give something up. ... I’ve enjoyed it.”
Roger Engemann, of Engemann Drainage Company Inc. in Troy, purchased the property and plans to expand the current business with a warehouse and shop space.
For Jamvold, it’s time to spend more time raising a vegetable garden and sharpening tools for customers.
He went into business for himself in 1972 and bought the property for the repair shop in 1974. He had worked for International Harvester for almost 15 years, selling agricultural equipment for C.F. Libel. He bought out Libel’s shop and equipment.
“It just cost a heck of a lot of money,” Jamvold said of what it took to open the business. “If it’s agriculture, we’ve done it.”
His customers over the years have ranged from people in Kansas City to Nebraska. He had been in the practice of making service calls on farms, overhauling diesel engines of all kinds.
It was a motto of the shop and its staff to always ensure a piece of equipment was fixed properly the first time so there would never be an opportunity to return for a follow-up, Jamvold said. He estimates thousands of tractors and trucks have come in for repairs. Crankshaft and radiator repairs were referred to other firms.
He laments that computerization and large modern tractors now hold sway in the farm world. He credits the “common horse sense” he learned in helping him achieve success. He had studied at an International Harvester tractor repair school near Chicago.
“Years ago, you did your work with your hands,” Jamvold said. “I’ve seen tractors come in here that were monsters.”
His wife, Opal, will continue to maintain an adjacent quilt shop. He plans to keep growing a vegetable garden just outside his shop, with cabbage and sweet potatoes among the specialties.