Farm Horizons, April 2012
Lano Equipment of Norwood:
By Starrla Cray
For the Lano brothers, Lano Equipment of Norwood isn’t just a place for farm machinery parts, service, and sales it’s a way of life.
“We all grew up with it,” said Paul, who co-owns the business with his brothers, Jack, Bob, and Andy.
The company was founded by their father, Dick Lano; and uncles, Hauser and Clarence Lano, in March of 1946. Back then, it was located in Chaska and called Lano’s Body and Fender Works.
Dick’s other brother, Joe, joined the business soon after.
The Lanos focused on growth in the early years, working to feed their large families.
Dick and his wife, Del, for example, had nine children, including Jack, Bob, Paul, and Andy.
Of the three girls in the family, one is now a librarian, one is an attorney, and the other is a financial advisor.
The boys all followed in their dad’s footsteps to some extent. The oldest, Tom, is a district sales representative for New Holland; and the other son, Bill, works at the Loretto branch of Lano Equipment.
According to Paul, their father encouraged them to continue in the family business, but also gave them the freedom to choose their own path.
Growing up with Lano Equipment
The Norwood location was added when Jack was in second grade, after the Lanos bought out the Allis Chalmers dealership.
Each boy remembers working at the store as a child.
“If you wanted a part-time job, that’s where you went,” said Jack, who is now 57. “At first, it was sweeping floors; then, pretty soon, you were helping customers.”
“We started when we were about 10 years old,” added Paul, age 50.
Paul and Bob (age 49) often went to breakfast at a local restaurant with their father before heading to the store.
“This is where you went on Saturdays,” added Andy, who is now 45.
After high school, Jack and Bob furthered their education by earning a degree in farm equipment mechanics.
Paul went to school for automotive parts, and Andy studied business.
In 1989, Dick retired and split the business. Bob, Jack, Andy, and Paul took over the Norwood location, and their cousins now own branches in Anoka, Loretto, and Shakopee.
Part of the community
In addition to operating Lano Equipment, the Lano family enjoys getting to know their community in other ways.
Paul owns Lano Lanes bowling alley with his brother-in-law, Curt Wilson, and is president of the Stiftungsfest in NYA.
Paul and Jack have also spent decades on the Norwood Young America Fire Department, and Dick had been fire chief both in Chaska and NYA.
Bob has been on the Carver County Fair Board for 20 years.
Jack was on the NYA City Council for six years, served as mayor for eight years, and is also involved in Church of the Ascension.
Long ago, Dick helped start the first ambulance service in Norwood, as well as the first carwash. He was also part owner of the local bank for many years.
His wife, Del, has given countless hours of time volunteering with the American Red Cross, VFW, and the American Legion Auxiliary.
Different every day
At Lano Equipment, Paul and Jack are both in sales, Andy is the parts manager, and Bob serves as general manager.
“You get to meet a lot of people,” Jack said.
“It’s different every day,” Bob added. “Some days are in the office, and some days are on the road.”
Lano Equipment currently has 25 employees, and the majority of its sales are from farm and livestock equipment.
Since the brothers took over more than 20 years ago, equipment has become larger and more automated, according to Jack.
The customer base has also increased due to technology.
“It used to be that a 30-mile radius was where you did your business,” Bob said. “Now, we sell coast to coast.”
Lano Equipment of Norwood’s spring, summer, and fall hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Winter hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.
For more information, call (952) 467-2181 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.