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End of the road for Egleston Electric

Family business to close in mid-November

September 13, 2012
By ANDREW POTTER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

At the age of 71, Lee Egleston said it is time to retire and avoid that pesky alarm clock in the morning. With his retirement, it will mark the end of a family business that has been in Marshalltown since 1944.

Egleston Electric Company will end its run in town in mid-November. It was started by Lee's parents, Leonard and Naida, 68 years ago and the first location was 313 S. Third Ave., the site of Tri-State Lock. It moved to its current location at 1208 E. Main St. in 1955.

Lee has been working for the company for 51 years and took over after his dad died in 1983. The business focuses on electric motor repair and sheet metal fabrication with an emphasis on quality.

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Lee Egleston, of Egleston Electric, will retire in November, ending a family business which has been in Marshalltown since 1944.

"I build it so I would want to use it," Egleston said.

Egleston is good with his hands and has designed and invented several pieces of machinery, just like his father. He has even designed and built a car.

"If I want to build something that isn't here, I pretty much make what I want," Egleston said.

His craftsmanship means he has built relationships with people from several area businesses and also helps out the farming community. Egleston's expertise spans generations in many farm families.

He has enjoyed the challenge of being able to repair items others couldn't.

"People bring in projects other people won't tackle," Egleston said.

During its heyday in the 1960s, Egleston's employed 18 people, which is the same time its car washing equipment manufacturing line was thriving.

Now, he said, big box store customers who are part of what he calls a "throw away" society have less need for the small family business

There are no particular plans for Lee in retirement aside from several rounds of golf.

"Don't have any," he said of his retirement plans. "Just spend time with my wife (Joyce). I'm ready for this."

A total of 38 grandchildren and great-grandchildren will also assure he keeps busy with family.

The business will put equipment and other items in the shop up for bid throughout November. Once much of the equipment is sold, he plans to rent out the Main Street facility.



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