The year was 1975. Stan was 26 years old and his young, beautiful bride of 3 years was 23 years old and expecting their first child. The couple was living in a single wide trailer house on 5th Street in Elbing. Stan was a truck driver leased to Penner Feed and Supply hauling dry freight coast to coast and Bonnie worked as a bank teller. In an effort to spend more time at home and less time on the road, Stan and Bonnie bought their first backhoe, a Massey Ferguson 30. Their first jobs included repairing water leaks and installing sewer laterals at $16 an hour and thus, Graber Backhoe was born.
Within a year, the business was showing enough signs of success that Stan was able to put aside the coast to coast truck driving. Along with running a backhoe, he built basements with his brother; worked as the city maintenance man for the City of Whitewater; and was employed as the Butler County Deputy Sheriff. Stan and Bonnie also ran a trencher rental business and delivered mail. By the late 80’s there was enough excavation work to keep Stan busy full time while Bonnie stayed home with their growing family of four children, continuing to run the mail route and maintaining the books for Graber Backhoe. Stan and Bonnie’s first employee was soon hired. He was the first in a long and prestigious line of top notch employees.
Stan and Bonnie relocated their family and the business a few times within the city limits of Elbing, but by 1993 the business had outgrown the small town and they moved five miles east to a cattle farm. The Graber’s now added cattle ranching to their repertoire with a cow/calf herd of 120. The business remained at this location for 18 years until it moved to its present location in 2011. In 2013, Graber Backhoe expanded the realm of services offered with the purchase of long reach excavation equipment from M&M Excavating.
Over the past 40 years, Graber Backhoe has employed over 50 people and worked for more than 2500 customers in 4 states. Work that began as mostly residential and agricultural has grown to include the commercial, railroad, municipal, and oil and gas industries.
Graber Backhoe would not be where it is without the hard work, character, and integrity of its employees. Thank you for your years of service!
God has provided in countless ways for Stan and Bonnie and their business. His provision has been unwavering. All glory to Him!