Anderson Electric now under new ownership
When the clock on the wall says it is time to quit, it is time to quit,” Randy Anderson says.
And it was literally true in Anderson’s case.
“I had put a retirement countdown clock in my office five years ago,” Anderson explains. “And I chose Dec. 31, 2019 as the date. So I told people I would either sell the business or call Marlin Krupp and have him auction it off.”
Anderson mentions he talked to one of his employees, Nick Schwager, who stepped up and decided to purchase the business, which is located on 624 E. Fifth St. in Blue Earth.
“I really did not want to have to auction it off, that would have been sad,” Anderson notes. “But you have to have a plan.”
Anderson commented he actually began his path to becoming an electrician in 1978 when he was still in high school in Blue Earth. He began working part time for Electric Service Company and stayed there until 1982. He then went to Winnebago and worked as a drainage maintenance electrician.
“I started Anderson Electric in 1985,” he says. “I had a little garage near Ron’s Electric for a couple of years before moving to this current location.”
So, why the decision to sell the business?
“My age and body dictated it was time to slow down,” Anderson states.
And as the business changes hands, it turns out the new owner has some things in common with the former owner.
“I graduated from Blue Earth Area in 2008 and it was while I was in high school I decided I wanted to be an electrician,” Schwager comments. “My dad and grandfather were electricians so I had some familiarity with the profession.”
Schwager went to school at Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Jackson to receive his electrician’s training. He is married to a Winnebago native, Kate Meyer.
And now he is in charge.
“I started working here in 2010, but when I was out working on jobs I did not realize everything Randy was doing back in the office,” Schwager notes.
But he is learning.
“Bidding jobs, lining up work, ordering supplies, doing service calls and meeting with customers were things I was busy with,” Anderson explains.
Schwager says he is already learning some valuable lessons.
“Time management is key,” he states.
The former owner is quick to agree.
“I always said I need three more of me,” Anderson remarks. “You have to learn to delegate; you cannot do it all by yourself.”
One area where Schwager is adapting well is the computer system.
“I worked with Nick on the computer,” Anderson says. “He just picked it up, took the ball and ran with it. He is more comfortable with the computer than I ever was.”
When Anderson retired, he took another employee with him.
“My wife Deb started here in 1995,” Anderson remarks. “She was a Registered Nurse and became an office manager.”
And now Kate Schwager is stepping into the role as office manager.
“I think it is awesome another husband/wife team is taking over the business,” Deb Anderson comments. “And they do well together. Part of what Randy and I learned was we needed to treat each other with respect, and Nick and Kate do that.”
Kate and Deb are working together on the computer while Randy and Nick are visiting and when a question comes up about a part number. Randy overhears the question and is able to rattle off the number from memory.
“Now there is something I have not mastered,” Schwager exclaims.
There are no immediate plans to change the name of the business but there will be an additional business joining Anderson Electric in the same building, according to Schwager.
“Meyer Plumbing and Heating, which is owned by my father-in-law, Sal Meyer, will be operating under the same roof,” Schwager explains. “He (Meyer) is a Master Plumber and will work with heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and can also do backflow device testing.”
Schwager says he is looking forward to getting settled in.
“The biggest challenge right now is preparing for the late-winter slowdown,” he explains. “For nine months of the year we go non-stop. There is not as much outside work during the winter but I am already lining up jobs for spring.”
And, Anderson is quick to point out where their business comes from.
“The farmers have been our bread and butter,” he shares. “We are very dependent on ag, 80 percent of our business comes from the ag sector.”
Even though the Andersons are retiring and plan on spending some time in a warmer climate, Schwager knows help is just a phone call away.
“I have Randy’s phone number memorized,” Schwager comments. “I want to make sure the business he started stays successful.”