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ESCO completes making big move

Long-time business moves into former VFW building on Main St.

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Aug 15, 2021

ESCO’s current owners stand outside of their new location on North Main Street. Pictured, left to right, are Jim Meyer, Brett Loge and Brian Bullerman.

After having their business located on North Hood Street since 1978, Electric Service Company (ESCO) is relocating to 215 North Main Street in Blue Earth. In fact, they used social media to announce Tuesday, Aug. 10, was the day the move was complete

“The time was right. Our location on North Hood Street had been added on to in the 1980s, but when the highway was redone on Leland Parkway last year, we lost even more of our parking lot,” one of the current owners, Jim Meyer says. “Brian (Bullerman), another owner, had talked about relocating for years. This location will give us more room.”

Meyer, who became an owner in 2004, and Bullerman, who bought into the business in 2009, are two of the three owners of ESCO. The third owner, Brett Loge, bought into the business in 2019.

ESCO was actually founded in 1942 as an appliance and electrical business.

“The original owners were Milo Miller, Ollie Kohlmeyer and Jim Syck and the business was located on Sixth Street,” Meyer comments.

According to a history of the business written by Miller, Syck left for Pearl Harbor in 1941 when the business was being formed and John Deardorff bought out Syck’s share of the business.

The newly formed business sold Westinghouse Appliances and was the distributer for southern Minnesota.

Miller said at the time, “The greatest problem in selling washers and dryers was to convince women they could wash any day of the week, not just on Monday.”

The business was also credited with introducing the first microwave oven in Blue Earth in 1957.

Their new location is in the building which once housed the VFW building and more recently was the home to a seed business.

The owners explained it was quite a process to get the building ready to move into.

“We basically gutted the building and tore it down to the block,” Loge explains. “We just outgrew the old building. Our new location will have a tin room where we do metal fabrication, a break room, more office space, a showroom and a warehouse.”

Loge adds they are gaining about 1,000 square feet of space by making the move.

“Another benefit is we now have a loading dock which enables us to utilize a fork lift,” Bullerman offers. “It will be more efficient to handle equipment and save our backs in the process.”

The warehouse portion of the building was the first to be renovated and ESCO began bringing in new equipment such as furnaces and air conditioners into their new location earlier this year.

The equipment from the tin room and the office equipment and records were the last items to be moved to the new location.

Operations coordinator Pam Berndt and office manager Penny Stevermer say they are looking forward to working in the remodeled offices at their new location.

“We have more space and it is a more convenient place to work,” Stevermer says. “It is just a better atmosphere.”

Berndt, Stevermer and Meyer actually worked in the building before.

“The three of us all worked here when it was the VFW,” Berndt explains. “It was a few years ago.”

ESCO has a total of 11 employees. Besides electrical work, the company also does plumbing and HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) work.

“We are always looking for the right person to join our workforce,” Meyer mentions.

He notes there have been many changes in the heating and cooling industry.

“There have been so many improvements in technology and efficiency,” Meyer adds.

The owners say they stayed busy during the COVID pandemic but it did cause some problems.

“We have had a hard time getting some air conditioners and furnaces,” Meyer comments. “Thankfully, we have quite a few in stock.”

The other complication from COVID was getting some of the supplies they needed for the remodeling project.

Most of the remodeling work is done now and the business even has a new sign on the outside of their building. It was designed by Meyer’s son, Adam.

“We need some time to get the offices organized and finish our showroom,” Meyer says. “We plan on having an open house this fall so people can come and tour our new facility.”

ESCO has been in business for 79 years and the owners say they are excited to continue to meet their customers’ needs from their new location.