Jan. 29, 2007

Dahlins' Home and Farm under construction at Hwy 12

Dahlins hope to move into new building in spring

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

Elroy and Kurt Dahlin of Cokato are combining Cokato Tractor Salvage and Cokato Hardware into one business, Dahlins’ Home and Farm.

The new 75-foot by 100-foot building housing the new, expanded business will be in front of the current Cokato Tractor Salvage’s building at 245 Highway 12 in Cokato.

“It’s just about double our current location,” Kurt said, comparing the new building to the current 45-foot by 132-foot tractor parts building.

The Dahlins, a father and son team, started digging just before Thanksgiving. They are currently pouring concrete and getting the floor in. March is their target date for completion, Kurt said.

In the spring, they will move inventory from the Hardware Hank franchise at 305 Broadway Ave. S., Cokato., and from the salvage business, into the new building.

Elroy started Cokato Tractor Salvage in 1974. Not only did the business sell farm equipment, but Elroy rebuilt generators and alternators at the same time.

Rebuilding equipment will be one of the facets of the original business that will be expanded in Dahlins’ Home and Farm. It will also include a rental department, which the Dahlins will build over time.

Also, the Highway 12 location of the business will make it more visible to customers, and have much more parking space, Elroy pointed out.

In August 2002, the Dahlins noticed the market was changing, especially for farm equipment. That is when they decided to change and expand the business.

“We are going to be selling new after-market parts,” Elroy said.

The hardware business will change too, Kurt said. Kurt always wanted to develop sections of the store into complete categories, such as a plumbing category, but there wasn’t enough space. The Dahlins are planning the new building to be organized so it will have complete hardware departments. There will also be an expanded paint line, Kurt said.

Kurt’s favorite part of the hardware business is the diversity.

“People come with a problem. You can help them fix it,” Kurt said.

Dahlins’ Home and Farm also is becoming more of a family business. Elroy’s wife, Betty, is the bookkeeper and helps with sales. Kurt’s wife, Stephanie, recently joined the store full-time at the Broadway location from her job in the title department at State Bank of Cokato.

Kurt and Stephanie have four children, Mikaela, 11; Olivia, 8; Natalie, 7; and Kyle, 1.

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