Next generation being trained at Tri-City
By Mark Sherry
Mark Sherry photo
Scott Buechel (left) gets a lot of work out of sons Josh (center) and Matt at his Tri-City Small Engine business in New Holstein. Josh is completing his schooling at Fox Valley Technical College’s “Monster Shop.”

Tri-City Small Engine is in its 10th year in New Holstein and continues to grow each year.

The business owned by Scott and Lori Buechel has doubled its inventory of Snapper and Dixie Chopper lawn and garden equipment, and this past year it added to its Simplicity lineup as well. “We’re looking forward to seeing how this will improve our service center for the local Simplicity customers,” Scott said. He said the increased Simplicity presence should mean the availability of more parts, including for older models— not to mention more rapid delivery.

Dixie Chopper has added a few more models to their lineup to help the person who wants that commercial-style machine but not the cost of the commercial cutter. “Dixie has also come along with a number of great financing programs for the customer,” Scott said. “Now is a good time to buy a new Dixie Chopper.”

Snapper is also improving its lineup this year, especially on its larger tractors. People driving by or stopping in at Tri-City Small Engine also might see equipment such as heavy duty log splitters and lawn sweepers, the latter of which have brushes made right in New Holstein at M-B Companies, Inc. “I get a lot of people asking for them,” Scott said of the sweepers, which also work to thatch lawns and can sweep away up to three inches of snow in the winter.

Work planned on building

Tri-City Small Engine is paying attention not only to what is in the store, but to the store itself. Roofing, lighting and painting projects are all scheduled for the coming year at the business located at 2204 Calumet Dr. (STH 32/57) in New Holstein.

The building previously was owned by David Cooley, who passed away in the past year. Scott took a moment to pay tribute to Dave, saying, “We at Tri-City lost a very dear friend this past year whom many people knew, David Cooley. Without David’s help this shop would not exist. He helped us in ways he will never know. We’ll miss his time-to-time stops at the shop just to see how things were going and tell about his latest adventure.” Scott said he and his family thank the Cooley family for everything they have done for them.

The past year also has been exciting for the Buechel family as son Josh enrolled in the “Monster Shop” course at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton and will be joining his dad in the shop upon completion of his education.

Scott said he has spoken with Josh’s instructor from time to time and is getting very good feedback.

Josh and his siblings have helped around the shop since the day it opened, and the experience definitely gave Josh a leg up on other students in the FVTC program. Despite that, he has still learned a lot via the FVTC program and will continue to do so until his May graduation.

“They keep us pretty up to date with all the new stuff which comes out,” Josh said of the program. Students get to work on equipment both old and new at the FVTC shop, which has been rated the top shop for students in the state.

Interning in St. Nazianz

Josh has been going to the Monster Shop four days per week since August. Fridays are spent in an internship, but he did not do it at Tri-City Small Engine— even though his father has hosted interns in the past, including one from Illinois who went on to open his own shop. Instead, the Buechels wanted Josh to get a taste of a different shop, so he has been interning at a shop in St. Nazianz.

Josh has been learning everything from welding and electrical work to parts and customer service at Fox Valley. Some of his classmates want to go on to the Motorsports Program, while others just want to fix engines out of their garages. Josh is the only current student who plans to join a family business.

Josh said he really enjoys “the hands-on stuff. You’re not staying at a computer every day. One day you have this problem with a machine, the next day you have this problem. It’s never ending.”

Josh said he is also considering getting some more education via the Motorsports program, but only to help expand the services he will be able to bring to his parents’ business.

Josh’s eye for the long term fits well with his parents’ goals. Scott said, “Tri-City has been here for 10 years and we hope we can keep helping the people of the area for many years to come.” He invites people to stop by and visit as they always like to see the friendly faces from the area.