Grunwald takes over 46-year-old company
By Angie Landsverk
Matt Grunwald is the new owner of Waupaca Machine & Repair.
On July 1, he became the third owner of the 46-year-old company.
Russ Wiesen and Charles Weisbrod started C & R Welding & Repair in 1970.
In 1983, Rex Evchuk bought the business from them and changed its name to Waupaca Machine & Repair.
Grunwald worked for the Waupaca County Highway Department for 3 1/2 years, and that is how he came to know Evchuk.
“Our conversation started at a Christmas party,” Grunwald said. “He wanted to retire, and I wanted to buy him out.”
Evchuk’s annual Christmas party was for his customers.
“It took us about a year and a half before it was all said and done,” said Grunwald.
The business has always been located at 310 N. Division St., in Waupaca.
Back in the 1800s, it was the site of a blacksmith shop.
That wooden shop was replaced by a metal building, and Evchuk added a 40-foot bay in 1994, then purchased land and a house next door to make a parking lot and add on again.
Waupaca Machine & Repair does welding, machining, general repair, fabricating and portable welding.
It is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and may be reached at 715-258-7200.
“We’re a job shop,” Grunwald said. “There’s not much I can’t do.”
He said they work with a number of local businesses, including Marvin Metals, Gusmer Enterprises, Waupaca Foundry and Faulks Brothers Construction.
“We do anything and everything there is,” he said.
Waupaca Machine & Repair has four full-time employees (including Grunwald), two part-time employees and two seasonal employees.
Lee Lind, a fabricator, has been employed there 20 years.
Grunwald grew up in the Readfield/Fremont area and is a graduate of New London High School.
He is a graduate of Fox Valley Technical College.
Welding was his main focus there. His studies also included farm operations and agriculture management.
Grunwald grew up working on his neighbor’s farm and does cash crops.
“I went into welding when I was very young. I was good at it,” he said. “I’ve been certified in every welding process. Even when I was at the county, I had a welder in the back of my truck. I did all kinds of welding for customers.”
Wiesen and Evchuk joined Grunwald in his Oct. 20 ribbon cutting.
Grunwald said he also met Wiesen before buying the business.
“When I was dealing (with Evchuk), I walked in and he (Wiesen) was in the office,” Grunwald said.
Like Grunwald, Wiesen discovered his interest in this type of work at any early age.
“I started doing machine work when I was 15 years old,” said the 88-year-old Wiesen.
He hung around Waupaca’s former Cary Manufacturing, which had nine divisions.
Wiesen trained about three months in each division.