Many times, it’s rare for a business to be able to sustain success and longevity for 40 years, but here Bigelow Welding is. Look on the sign outside the shop and it will tell you.
Paul Bigelow, his son Aaron, and their families invite their customers and neighbors to a reception meal celebrating that milestone 5:30-7 p.m. Saturday, June 10, at their shop, at the corner of Highway 92 and Brown Avenue west of Bridgewater.
“It’s a 40-year milestone. Some businesses don’t last that long. I started from scratch, in that I didn’t take over from anybody else,” Paul said. “I had a band saw — that was a big expense. I went to a few sales. I may not have even had a drill press yet.”
The date was June 6, 1983 when Bigelow Welding opened.
Paul grew up one of six children. He was the “mechanic” type from an early age, working under a shade tree on anything that needed fixed. During an interview in 2020, he credited his grandfather as the one who invested the most time in him at an early age.
“I’ve got a brother who is really into finish work with wood and we get that from my grandfather too,” Bigelow said. “I took the mechanical end and he took the wood end.”
Paul worked at Greenfield Welding for five years, getting a good foundation of experience he carried into his own business, when he took that leap.
“When you’re young you think you can take on the world. My goals in life were that I got out on my own, and I think I’ve got a nice shop facility. I like fixing stuff, but it’s about helping people,” Paul said. “I love the challenge of fixing and making it better, hopefully improving what they had, and getting them back on the road as quickly as we can.”
Most of Bigelow Welding’s customers are agriculture-oriented, in some way. There are smaller mechanic-type jobs they do. They also handle a small amount of machine work, as needed.
Aaron, 41, is a diesel mechanic, working out of the shop’s second building, which was built in 2008. He and his wife, Heather, are raising their family in the home next to the shop. Paul and Raedeen have moved back to Paul’s home place, between Fontanelle and Greenfield.
Aaron loves carrying on the tradition his dad has built of having customers that can trust their work every time. Since he was 8 years old, he has been following his dad around, learning the trades and tricks of the shop.
“He’s not the hired man, he’s Aaron,” Paul said. “When people call they either want to talk to me or they want to talk to Aaron.”
Paul said he knows where his success has come from in all these years. He hopes people will come out and help celebrate reaching 40 years of business.
“I want to thank our customers for their patronage over the last 40 years,” he said. “We wouldn’t be here or have survived without them.”