Stan Crader

Author & Lecturer on Writing About Rural America

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Stihl in America – Blog 10 – The First Flying Stihl Distributor

Virg with planeIt’s possible that Gordon Williams met the chainsaw legend of Hood River while visiting the Oregon chain plant during his days at Estate Equipment. If the two hadn’t met, Gordon most likely knew of the reputation of the owner of H&D Logger Supply, Virg Hatfield. Virg’s parents had migrated to Oregon from West Virginia. It’s possible they were trying to get as far from family as possible since during the time of the migration, the Hatfields and the McCoys were bent on killing each other—some say over a disputed pig, while others claim the feud was a remnant of the… Continue reading

The Whiz Kid

Response to full-page ads running every month in Chainsaw Age, starting in 1959 by Tull-Williams and subsequently Stihl America continued to pay rich dividends. The single warehouse phone virtually rang off the wall with calls from established Stihl distributors placing orders and those wishing to become distributors for Stihl. Joe Minarik, Mock, by then working part-time for Stihl America took the initiative to have a second phone line installed. Gordon, then being held accountable to a budget with the Stihl’s, a 40% partner, fired Joe for what he thought an extravagant expense. The following day a container of saws arrived… Continue reading

Stihl in America – Blog 5 – Joe

Joe’s story is important for two reasons—Joe was an essential member of the foundational team of Stihl American, and Joe’s story is typical of the time. People worked hard, adapted, and made their own success. Joe’s story is significant but not necessarily unique. Most Americans are descendants of people who immigrated to America from another country. America is a filtered melting pot of people looking to build a better life for themselves and their family.

Joseph John Mlnarik was born 1896 in the small village of Zilina, state of Trencin, Slovakia. Joe’s family operated a small flour mill and had… Continue reading

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