Lydon Electric Motors hosts grand re-opening in new business location

New location for long-time business.. Shelly and John Lydon of Waukon stand outside the new location of the long-time family business, Lydon Electric. The business moved last fall from its original location on West Main Street in Waukon to 850 Allamakee Street across from the Allamakee County Fairgrounds on the north edge of Waukon. Photo by Lissa Blake.

by Lissa Blake

When a person is trying to decide whether to repair or scrap a piece of vintage equipment, they might want to let John Lydon take a look at it first.

“We often find older equipment is worth repairing, because of its quality and longevity,” said Lydon.

Last week, John and his wife, Shelly, hosted a grand re-opening for their business, Lydon Electric Motors, at its new location, 850 Allamakee Street, across from the Allamakee County Fairgrounds. The new location gives them more room to work on and store equipment while it is being worked on.

Lydon Electric Motors started in 1958, when John’s parents, Tom and Jean Lydon, moved from Cresco to Waukon. Tom had worked for Bartlett Electric in Cresco and decided to open his own shop in Waukon.

The shop’s first location was at Keith Mason’s shop on West Main, after which it moved to the Lydon home at 802 West Main. The Lydon family lived upstairs and Tom had his shop downstairs.

John, the oldest of seven children and the only boy in the family, said he started helping his dad out at an early age. “I’ve been working in the shop since I was eight and on the payroll since the age of 10.”

John said he was a pretty small kid,  and he remembers seeing a picture of himself sleeping inside a large motor.

“I was always in the shop,” he said.

John said as the business expanded, it needed more room. His dad purchased the house next door and eventually bought the lot on the other side of the home as well.

After graduating from high school in 1978, John went to work full-time for his dad. The two worked together until 2008, when Tom retired to spend more time teaching fast-pitch softball.

John and Shelly purchased the business in 2008, and in late 2012, Tom passed away.

Shelly, who works closely with John as the business bookkeeper, said people are often surprised when they learn the scope of equipment John is willing to work on.

“I’ve worked on everything from a 1/200-horse to a 200-horse motor,” said John.

John offers free estimates on all repair work, and can fix anything AC or DC, including, but not limited to starters, alternators, generators, lamps, tractors, antique fans and small electrical appliances. He also fixes power tools and rechargeable batteries for power tools.

“I also have all types of old auto-electric motors in stock,” he said.

Lydon Electric is also an authorized service center for warranty repair for InSinkErator, Marathon, Baldor, Leeson, A.O. Smith, Milwaukee Electric Tools, Campbell Hausfeld and DeWalt.

Shelly said the scope of things John can work on is amazing. “It it’s electrical, he works on it. I’ve seen him fix miniature train sets and Kitchenaid mixers,” she said.

He also works on equipment for chiropractors and hair salons, in addition to hot tub and swimming pool motors. “If it’s got a motor, we’ll work on it,” said John.

No project is too big or too small, and John tries to make it as easy as possible for people to get him their equipment. “I have a sales route and travel three to four times a week within a 100-mile radius of Waukon,” he said.

He has pick-up and drop-off sites at several sites in Wisconsin and also in northeast Iowa. He also travels to farms and businesses for on-site service calls, fixing everything from flex augers and silo motors to well pumps and equipment for local craft breweries.

John said he also encourages people to bring something in before they decide whether or not it’s worth fixing. “Before you throw away or scrap an item for a small dollar amount, I would like to take a look at it,” he said.

For more information, call John at 563-568-3504.

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