How It Started
In 1956 Loftness Manufacturing, the forerunner of Loftness Specialized Equipment, Inc., had its beginnings in a farm shop owned by Dick Loftness, a Hector, Minnesota, farmer. Dick had made a V-type snow blower for his own use. A few neighbors saw the blower and asked if Dick would make one for them. Soon Dick had made several of the snow blowers, and Loftness Manufacturing was launched.
Sales grew until it reached the point where Dick could no longer operate at the farm. He moved the business into a small, vacant building in Hector and employed a few farmers who were not busy in the winter. In 1970, Marv Nelson, a local farmer, began acting as a distributor for Dick. He bought the snow blowers directly from Loftness and traveled the upper Midwest, selling them to farm implement dealers. Gradually, sales increased, and the Loftness snow blower name was beginning to be recognized. Loftness Manufacturing was once again moved in 1975, this time into a building Dick had built in Hector. The company continued to grow, but by 1979 Dick decided to sell. Marv Nelson bought the business, controlling production as well as distribution. Semi-trucks were purchased, and snow blowers were delivered directly to dealers. Up to this point, snow blowers were the only product manufactured. Sales fluctuated widely, since they were dictated solely by weather, so another product was needed to smooth the peaks and valleys of sales. Through the years, Loftness added new product lines, including vegetation management equipment, crop shredders, grain bagging equipment and, most recently, fertilizer and lime spreaders. These products became so successful that the original snow blower line was eventually discontinued.
An Employee Owned Company
After Marv Nelson’s passing, ownership of the company was split between his wife, Gloria, and sons Dave and Steve Nelson. The three continued to grow the company until deciding to transfer ownership of the company to the employees who helped Loftness become such a success. On January 1, 2020, the company joined an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), officially making Loftness Specialized Equipment an employee owned company.
Today, the legacy built by Dick Loftness and the Nelson family lives on, with each employee taking a personal stake in the quality of Loftness products and the success of their customers.