Clyde’s Corner: Hot coffee, good conversation, and lawn mowers

by Clyde Whitaker

Hello again everyone! This month I write to you about a local interest story—a lawn mower sales and service business—Gordie’s Power Equipment—located in downtown Gregory and owned and operated by Gordie Kunzelman. I have known Gordie since high school, a good friend, great sports announcer, and an honest businessperson.

Gordie’s shop was established on June 26, 2006. Some may remember back when Gordie got his start working for Jack Potts, owner of Howlett Hardware. Gordie worked in sales and repaired lawn mowers at Howlett’s prior to opening his own business.

Through the grapevine, I heard that, for years, every morning, except Sunday, a group of men gather for some hot coffee and socializing in Gordie’s shop, usually from 8:00 until 9:00, discussing the issues of the day, tractors and machinery, and maybe a story or two.

So, on a cloudy and cool February morning I decided to stop by Gordie’s to check out this meeting of the minds in beautiful downtown Gregory. Maybe I could learn something!

Walking into the store, I was met by Gordie, sitting on a bar stool. We exchanged greetings and talked some golf, mostly lamenting how much we miss it and are anxiously awaiting the start of our new golf season.

Gordie mentioned that this would probably be the last year of operating his business, as he is considering closing sometime this fall. He will be sorely missed, but after 17 years in business, he feels now is the time to say goodbye and do something else with his life.

After chatting with Gordie for about 10 minutes, I ventured out into the shop and saw several men sitting in chairs, side by side, talking away. The first person I saw was Joe Taylor and then Jack Potts. Two of the nicest guys you would ever want to meet, and I’m proud to call them my friends.

After saying hello, I asked the men if it would be ok for me to mention their gathering and maybe take some pictures. They agreed, and this very laid-back group continued their casual conversation while I took a couple of pictures. They told a few stories and had some good laughs. On this day, six men were in attendance, but I learned that, traditionally on Mondays, they usually have about 15 guys chatting it up. That’s a clue for me that I need to show up on Mondays to be part of what I’m sure are some very interesting conversations.

It will be sad when Gordie does retire, but knowing him, he will stay busy, which is likely to include more golfing! I feel fortunate to have learned about this casual coffee club while there’s still time to enjoy it, and I wish Gordie all the best that life has to offer.

Of course, the next question will be: Where will we meet for our daily coffee and conversation? Stay tuned on that one!

All photos by Clyde Whitaker.

Gordie Kunzelman, proprietor of Gordie’s Power Equipment, is a fixture on Main Street in Gregory, both for his small engine repair expertise and his hospitality.

Three coffee hour “regulars” at Gordie’s (left to right): Joe Taylor, Bob Ratza, and Jack Potts.

Three more coffee regulars (left to right): Russ Schuchaskie, John Rokke (a retired school principal from Minnesota, thus the Twins hat), and Lew Moss.

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