Parts for Potato Growers

Maupin Welding Celebrates 30 Years in Business

Published in the July 2012 Issue Published online: Jul 12, 2012 Tyler J. Baum
Viewed 2850 time(s)
"Superior Chain. Maupin Welding stocks chains from Superior Chain in Twin Falls, Idaho.
"Customer Service. From left, Craig Clement, parts manager, and Justin Maupin, owner of Maupin Welding.
Justin Maupin, owner.
Craig Clement, parts manager.

Taxes are a hotbed of contention. While many on the Far Left claim that people don't pay enough of them, taxpayers contest they pay too much.

At least one man in eastern Idaho is grateful for the motivation taxes gave him back in 1982-it lead him to start his own business.

Thirty years later, that business-Maupin Welding in Rexburg, Idaho-is still going strong, after tweaking its emphasis to best fit customers' demands.

Death and Taxes

In 1982, DeeLane Maupin had been working on a potato farm in Rexburg for 10 years. He needed money to pay his taxes, and in an effort to pay them, used his self-taught welding skills and the welder he purchased in 1976 by welding chains in the evenings.

He soon discovered he was earning more in the evenings than he was working endless hours a day on the farm. He eventually quit his job and started his own welding business, representing Superior Chain hook chains and AgParts rollers. Right next to their current location, just off the Yellowstone Highway between Rexburg and Sugar City, DeeLane rented a 400-square-foot shop to run his business.

For the first several years, business was extremely demanding-he was on the road constantly, driving all over Idaho, Oregon and even Washington to pick up hook chains to weld, welding them and delivering them back to customers. He's even traveled as far as Minnesota to pick up hard-to-find parts.

In addition to welding jobs, Maupin Welding started keeping an inventory of parts. That inventory grew and grew over the years, and continues to grow today.

DeeLane wasn't alone. When DeeLane's son, Justin, was eight years old he started helping out around the shop. He eventually became a partner, and when DeeLane retired in 1997, Justin took over the business at age 22.

"It just seemed like the right thing to do," Justin says. "The biggest influence to do it was probably my dad, but I had seen the friendships, relationships and the satisfaction Dad received from doing a job and doing it well, and that's what I wanted, too."


Diversifying the Company

Maupin Welding has changed over the course of 30 years. It began as a primarily welding company but then gradually added more and more parts. Nowadays, they sell all parts related to potato equipment, which includes AgParts, Broekema, Black Ace, Terog Manufacturing, Idaho Falls Foundry, Noffsinger, Superior Chain, Spudnik, RH Machine, Fafnir, Timken Bearings and Quick Splice, just to name a few. Their latest major expansion comes in the way of spray equipment and parts such as Banjo, Tee Jet, Shurflo and Hypro.

In 2000, Justin attempted another venture by building truck beds specifically for potato growers, after a nearby manufacturer went out of business. It resulted in the Ag Bulk Bed Series 2000, which was a profitable aspect of the business for them.

However, when the right opportunity came along, they sold it off in 2008 in order to focus all their attention on improving their parts business.

"When I was doing the bed business, I didn't have anybody in Parts except for me, so I was trying to run both of them," he says. "That was the primary reason for selling that bed business-I was stretched a little too thin."

They sold the truck business the same year they became an official Spudnik dealership.

Justin says it brings in the same customers as before, but it has increased sales because now customers are doing more through Maupin Welding.

When truck beds were a part of the business, Maupin Welding employed eight full-time staff, but are now down to five full-time employees. During harvest, they'll hire additional employees to deliver parts. Over the years, they have been known to start as early as 4 a.m. and not finish until 2 a.m. the following morning.

In 2007, Maupin hired a new parts manager, Craig Clement, a local who grew up on a potato farm in the Osgood area. His family sold their farm, and Craig worked for a few growers before being hired as the parts manager for Maupin Welding. It's been a good fit for both of them.

Maupin Welding still doesn't have a website, but they do sell parts nationwide. They do ship parts to places as far away as Florida, Hawaii, Alaska and Mexico and Canada, but they primarily ship parts to Idaho, Colorado, Texas, Nebraska and Montana.

Loyal Customers

One of the things that make Maupin Welding what it is today is the loyal customers.

"The relationships that Dad developed, fortunately, have carried over to what we're doing now. I feel we have a really loyal following. We work really hard to keep our prices low and just as hard on the service end of it. I believe that is what keeps customers coming back and know that if we do a great job the customer will be happy and tell his neighbor, and I know that is the best reference we could have. We've had some of the same customers for 30 years."

He also points out that their vendors are pretty loyal, too-not setting up other dealers in the area.

Justin looks forward to a lot more years serving these customers.

"That's what keeps me going-the relationships and friendships we've developed. That's the most enjoyable part for me, is visiting with customers."