Krause Lumber Company

Krause Lumber Company was a family legacy owned by Harry Krause Sr. After a failed sale in 1977 I began my career in the saw mill industry by working the planer operations of Krause Lumber Company. After Harry Krause Sr. Passed away in late 1977 the family ran Krause Lumber Company as a custom or cut to order saw mill. My main focus was the planer setup man and planer foreman. I setup a Yates 91 babbitt planer with a double pattern profile head. I had to know how a lost art of pouring my own high speed bearings from babbitt to keep the planer in top condition. This old planer made before 1920 still did great work through 1984. I worked on all phases of the planning operation from forklift to charge the planer, feeder, planer man, knife grinder, certified grader, trimmer operator and then forklift to clear and load lumber trucks. Because of the size of the planning operation I also performed all the maintenance on all the machinery and did carpenter work to repair buildings.

During the off season at the planer I would work in the sawmill where I operated the log loader, edger, bull edger, gang saw, trimmer and pulled on the green lumber chain sorting lumber. I would also do millwright and electrician duties.

Part of the maintenance included the complete rebuild of a Detroit 6-71, overhaul of a small Block Chevy, wiring and install of 3 phase electric motors and starters, building custom repair parts with the lathe and press, repairing tires, welding and cutting. 

Other operations at Krause Lumber Company that I was responsible for were bookkeeping and accounting from making out invoices and receiving monies to ledger entries and paying the bills. I did lumber sales and customer support. There was no part of the lumber operations that I was no directly associated with. I even spent time on the crawler, backhoe, skidsteer and of course a favorite was the many hours spent on a motor grader shaping up gravel roads.
The family owned sawmill was sold at auction and dismantled in 1984 the land was also sold. There is no remnant of the landmark buildings that remain.

B&B Variety

I worked at B&B Variety in Kalispell a local grocery, variety and restaurant. I worked during my Junior and Senior years in high school and several years after. My Junior year I worked 20-30 hours per week and during my senior year I worked 40 hours per week. By the end of my senior year I was in charge of night closing and money deposits. There was term that was used called a “Third in Charge”. There was a manager an assistant manager and me. I was in a management position and a senior in high school.  I look back and remember that I was making more money than those that reported to me and had families to support while I was still in high school and living at home with my parents.
I was in charge of ordering, stocking, cleaning and facing the automotive, hardware, electrical, paint and seasonal departments.  This was a big task and I handled it well. Fred Meyer had specific way that the store should look and be faced. The Kalispell store was a bit smaller so adjustment had to be made. I took great pride in the paint department and had top monthly sales of all the 60+ Fred Meyer stores paint sales. The paint sales were so good that Fred Meyer had a team come to Kalispell to take pictures and document what was done and all the Fred Meyer paint departments were tailored from what I had accomplished.
Sometime after I graduated from high school I transferred to the B&B Variety in Columbia Falls to get more experience managing a store of a different caliber than the store in Kalispell. This was a good experience.
A 50% pay increase lured me away from retail sales after 5 years with B&B but as I look back those management years are what made a solid foundation for many other life career adventures.