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From modest beginnings as a small machine and repair shop, Young Manufacturing has seen many changes over the years. But they have not forgotten how that journey began. This excursion started over sixty-five years ago with the inevitable ups and downs many businesses experience. Through the test of time, the business flourishes today.
After returning from World War II in January 1946, Richard E. (Dick) Young came home to Grand Forks, ND to resume a normal life and find steady work. In smaller Grand Forks there weren’t any large factory jobs like he had experienced in Minneapolis before entering the war. Instead, Dick found employment at a small local welding and repair shop. Only a short while later, the owners decided to dissolve their partnership and let it be known they wanted to sell the business and equipment.
In 1947 “Young Brothers Machine Works” was established. Dick, along with his brothers Roland and Frank, purchased the equipment for $7000 and set up shop in a rented building. Just as the business was getting started, it was nearly lost due to an interruption of the Korean War in June of 1950. Roland and Dick had both joined the National Guard and were notified to report for active duty. Frank, a skilled machinist, went to work for Minnkota Power Cooperative where he stayed until he retired. The equipment was moved into storage for the duration of the war. Upon return from their duty in Korea, Dick and Roland took temporary employment until they were able to build a 32 x 60 foot quonset in 1954. But after one year this endeavor ended due to a lack of funds. A local businessman and entrepreneur, Andy Freeman, who was also the General Manager of Minnkota Power Cooperative, asked Dick and Roland to join him and some other businessmen to form a new business to manufacture specialty Items. The group formed ARCO, (which many believed was an acronym for Andy’s Research Company) and was housed in the Young Brothers building. After eleven years with this organization Dick and Roland decided to leave the ARCO venture and go out on their own again. The brothers were able to take a few pieces of equipment with them when they left. (ARCO was sold some years later to an organization that moved the remaining machinery and product line to Racine, Wisconsin to provide work in an impoverished area of the city.) In 1966 they purchased a horse training Quonset on a rutted dirt road outside city limits.
This is where the business is located today, only now the company is housed in a new steel building, on a paved street (now called 42nd street North) and is once again within city limits due to city expansion. After acquiring this new facility, the two brothers started to rebuild their business for the third time. In 1968 Dick and Roland made a trip to Arctic Enterprises in Thief River Falls, MN, hoping to find some tool and die work. They were asked to research a better way of producing the steel track cleats then used on Arctic Cat snowmobiles. A contract was awarded them to build dies for cleat production, and was probably the break they needed to propel their company into the business that it is today. In 1973 Roland started his own business (TELPRO, INC.) to manufacture and sell a sheet-rock lifting device he designed for use in the construction industry, which he called the “PANELLIFT”. Dave Young, Dick Sr.’s youngest son, is President of the company today. Dave remembers as a young boy spending time at his dad’s shop and began working there on odd jobs when he was twelve. Young Mfg., Inc. has expanded over the years from primarily tool and die and metal stamping to a complete metal fabrication facility that includes Laser Cutting, CNC Press Brakes and CNC Machining. The company employs fifty people and continues to have a strong customer base in the area. Since the early years, the business has seen many changes and many positive results, including other family members who once worked at Young Mfg., Inc. and have left to start their own successful businesses. 2012 marks the sixty-fifth year since it all started in 1947.