Blue Earth native opens business out of life-long passion
Born and raised in Blue Earth, Dale Henke has always been what he calls a “tinkerer.” It started when his father would bring home broken phones from the Blue Earth telephone company. Henke and his brothers would take apart the phones and try to put them back together piece by piece. It was there that Henke learned his affinity for tinkering.
Telephones turned into lawn mowers, lawn mowers turned into cars, and cars turned into other machinery including boats and combines.
His hobby grew more and more as he began working for Green Giant’s packing plant, which then became Seneca years later. Henke would help before, during, and after packing season with machines and other equipment.
Then, after attending vocational school in 1980 in Mankato, Henke worked for the Highway Ford in Blue Earth for many years. Then, he found a solid career with Pillsbury, for which he has worked at for 33 years.
“I still find time to play with cars and different autos to keep me busy,” says Henke. “And maybe in a few years I’ll retire from my full-time job to become a full-time handyman, but we’ll see where life takes us,” says Henke.
Henke’s Repair, LLC, opened on Nov. 6 of this year, and just recently had a ribbon cutting with the Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce. His wife Lynda, daughter Christine and granddaughter Layla were there to mark the occasion with him.
Henke says his passion for tinkering helped him decide to open his business. He says he has learned a lot about lawn mowers, cars, trucks, and other automotive-like equipment to keep him busy all year long.
“If I can’t figure out what the problem is, I love being able to learn how to figure it out and fix it,” says Henke. “Whether I have to look in books or search the Internet, I am always ready to learn something new if I?can’t figure out what the problem is.”
But he usually figures out what the problem is.
Henke says his repair shop has reasonable pricing and any parts that are in need of replacement will be bought locally.
“Granted, I may not be able to get everything local, but I’m going to do my best to do so,” he says. “Supporting our small community and its local businesses are what keep us going, and if I can help them while someone is helping me, that’s all the better.”
Henke says he has flexible hours of operation, which run Monday through Thursday evenings, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
From oil changes to overhauls, Henke’s motto is, “if it’s broke, I can probably fix it.”
Henke’s shop is located at his home property just three fourths of a mile east of McDonald’s at 39383 115th Street in Blue Earth.
With a local understanding of the needs of drivers and machine equipment owners in the area, Henke says he is more than ready to see his hobby come to life as a career.
Some could even says he is revved up and ready to get tinkering.